After the Walpurgis night I had only had an hour of sleep when the first message came by Rariliin
– in Pärnumaa in Kabli once again a pallid harrier
was on migration. Since overflying birds cannot be twitched I slept peacefully on. An hour later another message came – in Läänemaa in Keemu a snow goose
(dark morph) was in place. Since the bird kept company with the barnacle geese
, that seemed to be staying in the area for at least one more week, so that going twitching would be possible later too, I slept peacefully on now too.
Hybrid between snow goose and barnacle goose. The bird is similar to the dark morph but a snow goose should have a red beak, and the darker breast colour also suggests barnacle goose (01.05.2012 Matsalu; photo: Tapio Kostet)
In the afternoon I got up at last and resolutely set off on a longer West Estonian trip. I reached Matsalu manor in the evening and to my surprise at once found the snow goose that had been seen in the morning on the neighbouring village grounds. But – in an instant it was clear that this bird was not a proper snow goose. It looked largely like a dark (blue) snow goose morph but the beak of the bird was black (should be red) and darker colour showed through in the breast feathering too. All clear, this creature was some kind of hybrid, evidently a cross between snow goose and barnacle goose. Noting to be done about it, no points can be scored for hybrids. But identification of one particular species again became more comprehensive.