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Four White Geese

Friday, 26th December 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary


reedmaceWe're actually at Anglers to spot wildfowl but these domestic geese spot us and come gaggling towards us. They're especially interested in me when I take out a white plastic bag but this doesn't contain breadcrumbs: it's only my sketchbook.

When another couple of birdwatchers come along the geese try their luck with them. These people tell us that a friend of their's has been keeping an eye on the six or seven geese that live around his village. He counted them again after Christmas: they were still all there.

Fish and Fowl

goose by Sidney Pagett The Sherlock Holmes story, The Blue Carbuncle, starts with the mystery of a Christmas goose and a black felt hat that have been dropped at the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street. On the day after Boxing Day Holmes and Watson follow the trail of clues to a poultry stall at Covent Garden Market.

A Feathered Phenomenom

Detail, Scrooge's third Visitor, by John Leech,  1843In Dicken's A Christmas Carol:

'the . . . young Cratchits went to fetch the goose, with which they returned in high procession.
Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds ; a feathered phenomenom, to which a black swan was a matter of course . . . '

But it's an enormous prize Turkey, rather than a goose, that the reformed Scrooge buys for the Cratchit family on Christmas Day.

A Carp for Christmas

Our next door neighbours had a carp for their Christmas dinner this year. I'd never heard of carp as a Christmas dinner before but a friend in Poland tells me that there it is traditional to eat them. They had three roasted carp on Christmas Eve and I'm told they tasted great.

Birds at Anglers

Here's a list my birdwatching friend John made of the birds we saw this morning on Anglers Lake and Wintersett Reservoir, at the Country Park feeding station, Haw Park and the hedgerows and fields between.

It was very quiet for birds in Haw Park: while walking a one mile circuit of the plantations we didn't add a single bird to our list.

great-crested grebe
mute swan

Great-crested Grebe

Mute Swan



Canada Goose



Ruddy Duck




Lapwing (24)

Black-headed Gull

Common Gull

Wood Pigeon



Mistle Thrush




Blue Tit

Great Tit


Carrion Crow



Redpoll (? in small flock)


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Richard Bell

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