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First sighting of migratory red-breasted goose in UP's Bijnore

Our colleague and representative of Wetlands International in the AEWA RBG IWG sent us interesting info on RbG observation in India. Here is a report reprinted from Indian Birds Vol. 9 No. 4 about the observation record in Uttar Pradesh by Rajesh Panwar & Sheela Panwar:

..." On 13 March 2014 we were casually birding while going to our native village in Saharanpur District, Uttar Pradesh. We took a detour from the Ganga Barrage, which is about 12 kms from Bijnor, a district headquarter of Uttar Pradesh (29°22’N, 78°02’E; c. 220 m above MSL), to watch flocks of Bar-headed Geese Anser indicus and other waterfowl in adjacent swampy meadows. We saw hundreds of Bar-headed Geese and spotted a Greater White-fronted Goose A. albifrons in a big flock of the former. As we were returning from the site, SP spotted a different bird in another flock of Bar-headed Geese, which was foraging. This bird was later identified as Redbreasted Goose. We returned to Kaladhungi on 16 March 2014 and tried to locate the bird at same spot, but we did not find it. The next day, RP emailed a photo to Soumyajit Nandy who suggested it could be a Red-breasted Goose; then we matched our photographs with other on in the internet. There have been three previous instances when the Redbreasted

Goose was reported from India, however, the evidence provided is not over-whelming and hence these records were

considered provisional. They are listed below in chronological order.

1. A report in the Bengal Sporting Magazine of April 1836, VIII, p. 247 of one shot near Nagpur from amongst a group of four (Blyth 1870). Blanford (1898) and Finn (1915) dismissed this anonymous record, the latter stating categorically, ‘I have looked this up, and quite agree with Blanford that the author of this did not know what he was talking about…’ (p. 70).

2. Baker (1904) identified this bird from the description provided by M. S. Mondy (sic) who saw four, on the banks of River Brahmaputra, along with Greylag Geese sometime in 1904 winter. Though Baker mentions the observer took a, ‘very careful note of its appearance,’ and provided a, ‘minute description,’ these details are found wanting in his note.

3. Several years later, Baker suggests that Mundy (sic) saw only a ‘single’ while he himself saw a ‘flock of five’ that went past his steamer while travelling on the Brahmaputra in March 1907 (Baker 1929), contrary to his own earlier statement." .....

The lone red-breasted goose feeds near Bijnore. Photo: Rajesh Panwar
The Red-breasted goose feeds near Bijnore. Photo: Rajesh Panwar