19 November 2011

Black Brant on Whiteford Beach

Black Brant with Dark-bellied Brents
I took an early morning stroll with Mark Hipkin out to Whiteford first thing to look for the Black Brant Branta bernicla nigricans, found last week by Phil Hill, Mike Hogan, Rob Gaze & Martin Bell. This is a North American subspecies that has only been recorded in Wales on two previous occasions. This bird has joined forces with the wintering flock of Dark-bellied Brents B.b. bernicla, which are of Russian origin with ca.1000 spending each winter in the Burry Inlet.

In good light the American subspecies is very distinctive and stands out well in the crowd, as can be seen above. Note the general lack of grey tones, strong white flash on the flank and bolder neck collar which meets in the middle at the front (broken in D-b Brent). Also in the flock was a Pale-bellied Brent B.b. hrota which has a much whiter belly and flanks. A few more shots can be seen at

The best shots of the goose however are probably in the video taken by Mark 'Spielberg' below, which you can view here...  
 Black Brant Video

Spielberg in action!

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