The Safari was chatting to next door who have recently got the tiniest little Jack Russell puppy they've called Albert - no doubt that in the not too distant future he'll be running rings round Frank. As we were out a Cormorant and a Sparrowhawk went over. Then it was out to see if we could find any of the several Bean Geese that are in the area, not seen one for the best part of 20 years. We headed out to the moss and on the main road saw two birders scoping what could only have been a flock of grounded geese from a most unusual place. We passed them but as we did we saw a white winged gull come half way across the road then turn back and head off over the houses...we were in a busy stream of traffic approaching a motorway junction at 40mph so couldn't do anything about it...nothing for it but to abort the planned excursion and spin back round the roundabout...couldn't find it but did have a quick chat to the birders who hadn't seen a Bean Goose in the flock but had seen a Greenland Whitefront on the moss. Abandoning the leucistic Herring/Iceland/Glaucous Gull to was back to the original plan. We found the location easy enough only to see the flock flushed by a block with two dogs walking them where he shouldn't have been - marvelous!!! NOT. A drive down the very bumpy and very wet track got us no nearer the flock but we did see a field of at least 30 Curlews.
So it was back to the nature reserve where the white headed Blackbird was once again in its usual place half way down the main drag. A Cetti's Warbler was heard almost straight away but we went to see if there were any geese in the fields to the east. On the way we heard a second Cetti's Warbler fire up. 27 geese came in but landed a long way off in dense tall stubble and it was impossible to grill them. While we struggled with the geese 16 Whooper Swans came from the north west but ignored the three Mutes Swans on a large puddle in the goose field. 30 or so Linnets were on the wires and joined by about two dozen more.
Another 15 geese landed but this time we could tell they were all Pink Footed Geese as they whiffled in to land. At the far end of the embankment we could hear a Song Thrush singing and spotted a second. Four Snipe flew over, today was going to be a Snipe day with many more seen, the best number we've come across here for a long time. A Water Rail squealed from the very flooded 'dry' reedbed, on a pile of windfall apples a few yards further on were a good many Blackbirds and two Fieldfares. A Kestrel came in and landed atop a tall tree flushing them all, not enough wind for hovering today! Before long it was joined by the other half of the pair.
Rounding the corner we noted a flower in flower - Hogweed.
Apologies for today's pics the light was awful but worse was the fact that we hadn't noticed all the condensation between the filter and the lens - - dooohhhh, no wonder the pic were so rubbishy. Then we saw a hint of movement in the corner of our eye and turned round to see a Grey Squirrel in an isolated tree.
Nothing over exciting was seen from the hide so after a few minutes we headed back to the Long Eared Owls, one of which was just about visible deep in the usual (for this season) bush.
By now it was time to go and look at the geese again as we'd seen more come in, well over 100 now. On the walk past the reedbeds a dozen or so Long Tailed Tits were flitting about in a Willow tree at the side of the path but we didn't bother with the camera - gone off em!
The geese were still out of sight/range even through friends' telescopes. Two Buzzards buzzed the flock to no avail although one managed to catch a mouse or vole. Nothing for it but to head off to the other end and wait for the Bittern/Otter combo. At the hide a Water Rail scuttled a cross the small gap at about 100ph shrieking as it went. We started to get a bit cold so decided to walk up to the bench to get the circulation going. from there we got a better view along the length of the mere and counted 15 Wigeon along with loads of other waterfowl but only one Goldeneye today.
We were joined by quite a throng but all we could muster between us was a third Cetti's Warbler and a Sparrowhawk - they told us we'd missed bird of the day...they'd had an adult Mediterranean Gull down the other end not long after we left them. No Bittern/Otter combo this evening...
Where to next? Patch 2 might throw up a goody or two.
In the meantime let us know what should have shown themselves in your outback.