Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Unseasonal Brent Goose

18th September - I made a morning visit to the lake, not particularly early, but was there just after 8am.  On arrival, I found Jim R standing near the western bench taking photos of the small group of Snipe that had been building in recent days.  This morning there were eight birds near the base of the spit.  We had a quick chat and then began to scan the birds on the spit.  Almost immediately, I came across a Brent Goose standing on the near spit and called this out to Jim - he had just come across it too.  I wanted to grab some record shots, but annoyingly my scope kept misting up.  I decided that the viewpoint would give me a closer view and so walked over there.  Annoyingly, during the fifty yard walk, the goose had left the spit and was now swimming away towards the island.  With a mist free scope I was now able to take some shots.  It swam to the far side of the bay and then climbed out, so I got some further shots of it on land.  Due to the low light, all are less sharp than I would have liked, but good enough for a record.

The bird was an adult dark-bellied and must have been one of the first back in the country for the Winter, as the date seems very early.  This is only my second patch record of a scarce patch bird, my first was a rather remarkable pale-bellied bird in Emmett's fields on 15th November 2013 - see here

The goose was on its own, but the resident flocks of Greylags and Canadas started to arrive from riverside fields mid morning and soon the spit was covered with hundreds of them.  The Brent Goose carried on making its way around the edge of the spit and Jim and I last saw it preening on the eastern side of the spit at about 9:45am.  Further visits by other birders at 10:30 and later in the day failed to find it again.

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