I was wandering past the lake last week and spotted two new additions to our bird population strutting over the grass like they owned the place. A quick snap and search told me that, no, they were not ducks that had gone a bit rusty, but were instead Egyptian geese.
I had so many questions!
What’s your back story? What are your names? Why are you here? Do you think you’ll stay long? Where are your favourite hangs? Tell me a bit about yourselves.
Unfortunately, these questions were met with a resounding silence, so I consulted our panel of wildlife eggsperts: Marcus Clayton, our Grounds Manager, and Dr Google.
“If I was a bird, I would love to settle on our lakes, but that’s me being biased!” exclaimed Marcus when questioned on why they were here. In addition to all the excellent work our Grounds Team do every day to maintain our beautiful park, it seems our water quality is exceptionally good and could be one of the reasons this pair chose to settle down with the rest of the gaggle.
We’re working on the basis that our two new friends, who we have named Giza and Nile (a true Egypt-Essex crossover), could be a mating pair, so you may very well see little goslings waddling about in the coming months.
Turns out that, despite their name, Egyptian geese in the UK don’t migrate back to Africa and are here all year round; the breed was introduced to England a long time ago and many settled in East Anglia, so we may very well have permanent residents. They’re also not technically geese, as they’re members of the shelduck family, but we won’t tell them that…
You can often spot Giza and Nile waddling around the main lake, quacking away to their Canadian goose and Mallard neighbours. I suspect one of the two is sitting on some eggs in the centre lake, somewhere. I hope they’ll stay with us for a long time and that this marks the beginning of even more species flocking to our campus.
I’m not sure where they sit in the pecking order and I expect they’re still finding their webbed feet, so please do be kind to them! The Ancient Greeks once worshiped them, so, in their absence, we will need to make an extra fuss of them — who knows, maybe they’ll leave us a decent Tripadvisor review?
Have you spotted them? Why not chuck something up on Instagram with #GizaNileEssex…
…and, no, I can’t tell you which one’s which, as they’re indistinguishable from what I can tell, so you decide who’s who!