Saturday, 10 November 2012

Red-breasted Goose

Through bleary eyes and with a bit of a duff head, I rolled out of bed at 06:30 this morning and drove down to Pagham. On arrival there at around 08:45, Alan Lewis informed me that the Hooded Merganser hadn't been seen and he was heading off to Farlington to look for the Red-breasted Goose. With the drizzle continuing, I decided against wasting time stood on the North Wall and decided to follow suite and head west.

The weather had improved a tad on arrival at Farlington and, although overcast, it had stopped raining and was actually reasonably mild. Alan and I walked around to the east side of the reserve and soon located the Red-breasted Goose showing with around 150 Dark-bellied Brents in fields by the sea wall.

Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to put my camera in my bag on leaving London this morning, and thus it wasn't surprising to find the goose performing outrageously well. I did have my iPhone, though, and the shots below were taken via hand-held 'iPhoneScoping'. Not too bad really.

The only Red-breasted Geese I'd seen in Britain previously were a couple of adults that spent time in Lincolnshire then Norfolk six winters ago. I had some pretty good views of them up at Saltfleet, although nothing quite like this one. Among a trusting pack of Dark-bellied Brents, the bird came within 30m of us over the ninety minutes we watched it - close enough that optics weren't necessary to enjoy satisfactory views! Some of the Brents were showing to half that distance - crazy birds.

So, despite the 'disappointment' of the merganser disappearing, it actually turned out to be a pleasant few hours down on the south coast. Nice to see Alan and nice to be out of West London.

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