Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Essex goose Festival 07.12.11


Can you find the red breasted goose?

Leaving the village at 5.45 and picking up a couple of fellow birders we were on the Causeway at Abberton for first light. Cormorants, various expected wildfowl, including a escaped swan goose (photo above) and a grey heron. However, the highlight here was of 4 goosanders moving from one side of the Causeway to the other and then back again. Into the visitors centre at 9am and a wander to the hides. Excellent birding here with hen harrier, smew, several pintail, goldeneye and thousands of lapwing. The wind was steadily increasing, dropping the temperature that meant gloves were a necessity. The gusts were strong enough to blow over my tripod, making viewing through the 'scope tricky. Not helped by Dave's crashing around in the hide, meaning I had cracking views of the sky on a couple of occasions. Well done, Dave! A quick coffee at the visitors' centre before a drive to Old Hall Marsh. A red breasted goose had been reported and this would be a lifer for both Dave and Gary. The wind was now a steady Force 6 and although a field full of brents was scanned, no red breasted. Off to the creeks where good wader numbers were recorded, including dunlin, black tailed godwit, avocet and redshank. A little further on I spotted a marsh harrier putting up wigeon and at the same moment had to call peregrine as a large female shot through the flock, snatching a wigeon and making her way off to a nearby field. Great moment and even better when she posed in the field, albeit too far away for a photo. Further along the track we encountered tundra bean geese in with a few white fronts and pink foots. Our goose total was rising. Reed buntings, meadow pipits, curlews and golden plovers were listed before we came across the flock of brents again and this time latching on to the red breasted. Photos were attempted but the gale was so strong nothing was staying still. See if you can find this bird in the top photo? Back to the car, soup and bread buns and on to a new site for the three of us, Chigborough Lakes. Classically, I stopped the car to check website details for directions, drove a further 50 yards and came to the entrance. A super reserve with great potential. Well worth visiting and, I suspect really good for a dawn chorus walk. Here we heard redpoll, but couldn't find them in fading light. Dave scored a lifer with a pair of bullfinches, to add to his and Gary's lifer list that now included both tundra bean and white fronted geese. Gadwall, teal, shoveler and mallards were present in good numbers but the surprise was in checking out canada and grey lag geese in a field at the back of the Reserve we noted 2 barnacles, taking the goose species total to an amazing 10, including the escapee. Fiedfares, jays and redwings were added along with long tailed tits and although we noted a good range of owl boxes, none owls were observed. Off to Maldon for a bag of chips, Dave scoring them at 6/10. Dave is the official chip expert. Returning home in time for a spot of work, I counted the day's total at an impressive 82. Not too bad for a day when the light was good for less than 6 hours. Not too much missed I suspect.
Great day out with good company and thoughts turn to our next day trip in 3 months time.
Species:
little grebe great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, white fronted goose, tundra bean goose, pink footed goose, greylag goose, canada goose, barnacle goose, brent goose, red breasted goose, shelduck, egyptian goose, mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, smew, goosander, hen harrier, marsh harrier, sparrow hawk, kestrel, peregrine, pheasant, moorhen, coot, avocet, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, dunlin, redshank, black tailed godwit, curlew, snipe, ruff, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, great black backed gull, mediteranean gull, stock dove, wood pigeon, collared dove, green woodpecker, skylark, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, stonechat, song thrush, redwing, fieldfare, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, bullfinch, reed bunting + redpoll (heard) and hybrid goose.
Photos show huge brent numbers, plus a few flypasts, sunrise on the Causeway at Abberton and both heron and egyptian goose taken at this location. Sympathy most go to the 4th member of our quarterly team, Graeme, who was unable to make it. Suspect red breasted goose would have been a lifer, Graeme? Another report can be found at http://hairybirders.blogspot.com/ with a selection of photos

1 comment:

Graeme J. Smith said...

Great list guys.... rbg will have to wait for me for another year :-(
Graeme

This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander