Goose Friday

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.

red-breasted goose

red-breasted goose

It was looking very fine and much brighter than earlier in the winter.

red-breasted goose

red-breasted goose

It was very noisy, calling loudly, although the call is a rather high-pitched and not very goose-like thing.

red-breasted goose

red-breasted goose

It surely will not be here much longer, the weather will surely turn sometime soon, won’t it?

red-breasted goose

red-breasted goose

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.

wheatear male

wheatear male

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.

really big raven

really big raven

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.

black brant

black brant

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.

black brant

black brant

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.

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