A very good Friday on the Marsh today, although very cold by almost any standards, the wind was cutting and even the sun only came out from time to time. I arrived at the Building to find the red-breasted goose just over the hedge, I know I have posted lots of pictures of it before but I am going to have to post some more.
It was looking very fine and much brighter than earlier in the winter.
It was very noisy, calling loudly, although the call is a rather high-pitched and not very goose-like thing.
It surely will not be here much longer, the weather will surely turn sometime soon, won’t it?
After such a good start to the day I could not really have expected much more, especially as it seems that the spoonbill, which had been with us for something like three weeks, has finally left. I set off on a clock-wise tour, thus keeping the wind at my back, or at least not in my face, for as much of the walk as possible. On the fence by the Hayfield a smart male wheatear was good to see, it was one of at least four on the reserve today, two males and two females.
Down at the Deeps a large flock of dark-bellied brent geese, at least a thousand, included certainly 2 pale-bellied brent, and I am pretty certain there were three. As I was watching them and checking for colour-rings a raven flew in and was buzzed by the local crows. Each time a crow dived at it the raven jumped in the air and rolled so that the legs were uppermost. I could not get a picture of this behaviour, but what you can see in the picture I did get is how huge they are.
As I was at the Deeps I heard the call of a little ringed plover and saw it flew round over my head. This was officially my first of the year, although I was a sure as I could be that I heard one at the Building on Wednesday.
Walking round the Point a visitor drew my attention to a bird flying up the Harbour, it was a marsh harrier, it flew steadily north and was very distinctive as it had lost several primaries from the right wing. Onward round the wall I realised I could hear the call of the red-breasted goose again, it was with a smallish group of brent on the sea just off the wall. Not only was the red-breasted goose there but also an adult pale-bellied brent goose and, even better a black brant. I am more or less certain it was a female as it was rather small. After seeing several hybrid or at least iffy individuals this winter it was really good to see one that I was happy really was the full measure.
The typically more contrasting plumage, with a strong white neck collar, browner caste, especially just behind the black neck are all there. The comparison with a dark-bellied brent goose shows just how distinctive good ones actually are.
Other sightings today were rather few, an avocet was reported by several people, a water pipit was again in the Hayfield and to the north of the A27 I saw a green woodpecker and a jay.