Kingston nature watch: Adorable goslings spotted in Bushy Park

  Posted: 20.11.21 at 04:44 by Ellie Brown

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ADORABLE goslings have been spotted in Bushy Park after being born much earlier than usual.

A brood of nine baby Egyptian geese emerged at the end of October, to the delight of park visitors.

Only five of the fluffy youngsters are now left - but thanks to warmer weather their chance of survival seems to be higher than normal.

Balmier winters in the UK associated with climate change have been linked to an explosion in population of the waterfowl brought here from Africa in the 17th century.

Egyptian 'geese' - really a distinctive type of duck - struggled initially to cope with the chilly winters and their existing habit of breeding as early as January, a 'Fact File' on the species in The Guardian reported.

But since the 1980s their numbers have skyrocketed and there are now 1,100 breeding pairs in the UK.

This month's Bushy brood appeared after the second hottest September on record and a markedly warmer October with fewer frosts than expected.

An adorable fluffy gosling in Bushy Park this month (Image: @thisnorthernboy)

And last year after similarly warm months a clutch of goslings were born on Christmas Day, which long-time park visitors said was the earliest they had seen them.

Speaking to Nub News at the time, Hugh Smith, Senior Wildlife Officer at The Royal Parks, said “While [Egyptian Geese] are usually in sync with native species and usually produce chicks in spring, they can sometimes have chicks throughout the year including over the winter months."

He added: "Sadly these chicks are unlikely to survive the cold weather but the good news is these birds are likely to produce more offspring in the warmer months."

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