Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Bean Geese

I had a poor days birding on Tuesday. Not much flying and misty, cold, and overcast weather that made it unpleasant to be out. The only highlight was that we managed to see the two Bean Geese at Arundel. They were very difficult to spot even with the telescope and we were on the wrong side of the river for a closer approach. However, I went home confident with the identification. This morning I woke up and knew that I would not be satisfied unless I got  a record shot of this scarce bird.

Fortunately it was possible to get a little closer approaching from the East of the river and using the railway line for cover. The birds were still distant but visibility had improved and pictures were possible.

Bean Geese

Although the makings on the two birds are slightly different the experts agree that they are both the Tundra variants.

With Greylag Geese for size comparison

The sun came out midday. Not what I was expecting or what any of the forecasts had predicted. Rather than heading off home I decided to walk along the river bank to see what was about. Plenty of birds and one big suprise when what looked like a blow up toy came floating down the river along with some Canada Geese.

Canada Geese and a Bar-headed Goose

A Bar-headed Goose, I have seen reports about it in other parts of Sussex but it still comes as a shock when you see it. Everything about the bird looks wrong, even the way it sits in the water.

It is a Central Asian high altitude species so this is most likely an escaped feral bird and is not recognised on the British list.

Looking more lifelike

A little later I spotted another escapee but this one has been around as a species for a couple of hundred years and is recognised on the British List.

Egyptian Goose

To cap a good afternoon a skein* of geese flew over and landed in the river in front of me and in the middle of them were the two Bean Geese I had been stalking all morning. I thought I was going to get some good shots but by the time I had moved out from behind the reeds and got the camera focused they had taken fright and were airborne again.

My picture flying away

Another day of low expectations and good results. I just wish someone could get the weather forecast right so I could make plans a couple of days ahead.

*(clever word - collective noun for a group of geese in flight)

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