Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Goose Chase

Saturday dawned bright and sunny at Birdingsometimes HQ, so I took the decision to head inland for a potter with some wildfowl. First stop was Whittle Dene, where a female smew had been reported recently. Annoyingly thick fog had failed to clear, and I could barely make out four tufted duck on the lower reservoir, never mind a smew! Next up was Grindon Lough – thankfully void of fog, but also void of Greenland white-fronted geese and tundra bean geese too! A couple of hundred Canada geese were the best that was on offer, with forty common gull to boot. The fog was a bit weird here – while the Lough was fog-free, a chance look from the road just north of Steel Rig on the roman wall (a good spot for the Greenland white-fronts when they’re not on the Lough) was worthless, as visibility was less than ten meters…    Driving past Grindon two fox were noted.

Enough was enough, so I headed back east, via Prestwick Carr and West Hartford. Both were pretty much bird-less, so news of bean goose sp. north of Bell’s Pond was enough to keep me moving. En-route I stopped at Woodhorn for a better look at the four Greenland white-fronted geese … I’m still smarting at my failure to look at them properly last week!

At the bean goose spot I bumped into Steve and Phil, and we spent a pleasant half hour or so scanning the goose flock. Steve eventually picked up the bean goose – it transpired that it was a tundra bird - my first of this bean goose form in the county, ;-). Also present: eight barnacle geese, a heap of pink-footed, several grey-lag and Canada… including a weird pale bodied bird. A small flock of twite were feeding opposite. No chance of photographs today, it was a very dark and grey afternoon. MSH arrived and I continued north with him up to the corner at Druridge in an attempt to get a better look at the tundra bean ~ no joy there, but it was good to catch up with tales of birding and travel.

Steve and Phil had already departed south, and a text confirming the presence of two SEO at West Hartford gave me a pit-stop for the journey back home, but all I could manage was a tribe of long-tailed tit.

And that was that.

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