A New Year walk
Next time you are walking in Little Thetford, take your camera. You never know what you may find. If you are unsure what you have seen, send us your photograph and we will identify it for you.
Whilst walking from Little Thetford to Ely on New Years Day with six friends, Judy Young spotted this unusual goose enjoying a swim on the River Great Ouse. Colin Saunders, one of the party, was so intrigued he looked it up on his return. The large black dewlap and knob distinguish this as a brown African Goose.
Colin reports: “The African Goose should be of about the same size and height as the Embden Goose . According to Oscar Grow the African Goose appears physically a cross between the Toulouse Goose , and the Brown Chinese Goose, with some of the size and dewlap of the Toulouse Goose, and some of the carriage and ‘knob’ of the Chinese Goose . Also Known as L’oie de Guine’e in France
The African Goose is said by some breeders to be a distinct breed imported from Africa, but the evidence a large genetic part of the Chinese is indisputable; seeTegetmeir 1873. They were known as a pure breed in the USA from the 1850′s and although often crossed with the Toulouse as a commercial meat cross are a definite species descended from the Swan goose (Anser cygnoides) rather than the greylag (Anser anser).”
Also spotted. Well not spotted actually, crested! In any case, crested ducks were seen during the same walk. Unfortunately, we do not have a Little Thetford photograph of them, so Colin Saunders found this image on the web. Colin again “Crested ducks are basically an aberration appearing in any colour and as such have a mixed history. The crest is essentially a mutation associated with skull deformities and known for hundreds of years. There are those who claim that crested ducks first appeared in Britain, which is unlikely but they were certainly first shown here and appear in many early poultry books . Genetic mutations appear occasionally all over the world. Selective breeding would then have increased the numbers of birds with the same characteristic. 17th century Dutch paintings show crested ducks on wildfowl such as Melchior d’Hondecoeter (1636 -1695) and Marmaduke Craddock (1660 – 1717) from Somerset in the UK showed them”