November 16th   Leave a comment

It has been so grey and dark the last few days that even the continuing south-easterly winds haven’t been enough to lift my spirits. And this is despite the Isle of May having a few good birds over the last few days but they seem very remote and often Crail misses out. Yesterday, for example, there were some good geese on the May and the day before a very rare dusky warbler. But just as I got to work this morning I got a phone call from John Anderson telling me that he had a mixed flock of rare geese up behind Crail in the pools up at the crossroads that have been so good for waders this year. I dashed back to Crail as fast as I could. A real twitch – full of nervousness as I hoped on the journey that they were still there and then a real sense of relief and achievement as I saw the birds I was hoping too. Not one new species for my Crail list, but two! 17 tundra bean geese and 25 European white-fronted geese feeding in the stubble by the wader pool. Neither species are particularly rare, but then rarity is relative and I haven’t seen either in my eight years in Crail. And I probably have seen less than a hundred bean geese and even fewer white-fronted geese in 32 years of birding. As well as these new geese there was a single barnacle goose and nine greylag geese with them and also five whooper swans. A fantastic mixed flock for Crail – any of these five species would make a good day’s birding. These were the same geese, more or less, reported from the Isle of May yesterday, so for once we didn’t miss out. I think I will go looking for the dusky warbler tomorrow.

Tundra bean goose - number 200 for the Crail list

The two new geese species take my Crail list up to 201. Here’s to the next 100. The next 100 will be a lot harder though: it always gets harder. The common species get seen and then it is just the rarities, which get rarer and rarer.

European white-fronted geese

Posted November 16, 2011 by wildcrail in Sightings

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