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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 12:29 GMT
Gatecrashing goose flees festive table
Birds at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
The goose is being fed among the swans at Slimbridge
A goose has escaped its fate as part of the Christmas dinner by gatecrashing the feeding sessions for rare swans at a nature reserve.

The farmyard goose is getting fat at the expense of bird lovers at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.

The mystery bird, who is believed to be from one of the farms near the Slimbridge sanctuary, has arrived just before Christmas for two years running.

Dave Paynter, reserve manager at Slimbridge, said: "We first noticed the intruder last year, though he blends in quite well with the throng of Bewick's Swans we feed on the Rushy Pen each day.

"I was really surprised when I saw him again this winter, but he is certainly a devious chap.

"We have no idea which farm he comes from, but he is clever enough to know he needs to make a hasty getaway at this time of year to avoid being served up as someone else's dinner."

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