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Snow geese stop off for round of golf

Two snow geese blown in by high winds have found a temporary home on St George's golf course.

Paul Watson, a keen birdwatcher, said: “They were on the promontory near Blackbeard's early Friday afternoon and, on Friday evening, they were on the old 13th fairway that runs from the Unfinished Church up towards the old Club Med.”

The birds have also been spotted on the fairways of the 12th and 13th holes, where they have been feeding on insects that live in the grass.

Mr Watson said the arrival of the pair on his shelter-in-place “regular walking spot” had sparked interest in passers-by.

He explained: “Because they are white, they kind of stand out. It is interesting to see the looks of people.”

Mr Watson said: “I have stopped and talked to a few people, keeping my distance, and they are getting as close as they can because they are not sure what they are and so that they can get a photo.”

Mr Watson said the birds' difference in size between the two birds suggested they were probably a breeding pair migrating north together and would leave soon.

He predicted: “As soon as the wind dies down, or switches to the southwest, they will be gone. It's April time, and they want to head north and start a family. I expect them to move on in the next day or so.”

Mr Watson said a snow goose also arrived on the island in January and spent some time on the north sports field at the National Sports Centre and at Pembroke Marsh.

He added: “That was quite interesting because it had been banded ten years ago on Baffin Island in Canada's far north. It disappeared in February.”

Mr Watson agreed with a suggestion from David Wingate, a former government conservation officer, that the geese were on their way from Chesapeake Bay on the US east coast to the Arctic when they were blown off course by a gale.

Dr Wingate said: “The snow geese population is huge — they turn up in Bermuda simply by virtue of their numbers.

“One or two get lost or get blown off course. They are very frequent visitors, but we normally see one at a time.”

New arrivals: the snow geese on the eastern boundary of Coot Pond in St George's (Photograph by Lisa Greene)

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Published April 08, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 08, 2020 at 8:33 am)

Snow geese stop off for round of golf

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