Thursday, May 21, 2009

Goose photographed flying upside down

A photographer has taken a picture of a greylag goose, as the bird was flying upside down.
Brian MacFarlane was amazed when he looked at the photo he had captured of the bird in flight.
The incredible display of mid-flight acrobatics is also a remarkable feat of wildlife photography
Mr MacFarlane was simply photographing geese buffeted by strong winds at Strumpshaw in Norfolk and did not expect to capture a moment of contortionism.
"The wind was making life difficult for the flying birds," said Mr MacFarlane.
"Some were expert at controlling their flight, while others were being tossed around in mid-air.
"On closer inspection of the image I realised it had flipped upside down but kept its head the right way up.
"Quite a feat!"
Paul Stancliffe, of the British Trust for Ornithology, based at Thetford, was able to explain the bird's bizarre behavior.
"It looks like this bird is in mid-whiffle," he said.
"When geese come in to land from a great height they partake in a bout of whiffling, this involves the bird twisting and turning to spill air from their wings and thus lowering their speed prior to landing.
"In 36 years of birdwatching I have seen this many times, particularly when watching pink-footed geese on the north Norfolk coast coming in to roost in the late afternoon and evening. I have, however, never seen a photograph of a bird in mid-whiffle like this. It is an amazing photograph."

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