Wednesday, 9 March 2011

In pursuit of a wild goose

the three Stonechats

Ian and I were doing Canons in the morning where three Stonechats lit the day up even more than the weather (in addition to 3 Canada Geese and 2 Mallards for me, before Ian got there) when I got a text from Johnny Allan and a call from Graham James telling me that there was a White-fronted Goose at Holmethorpe. I needed this for the local area and Surrey (I'm trying to get a bit more enthused about the latter) and Ian needed this as a lifer so we headed over straight away.

White-fronted Goose

After parking up at Mercers CP we found Kojak and the first-winter White-fronted Goose feeding with Greylags and Canada Geese in the field just south of Spynes Mere. It was a neat bird in good condition. It was unringed and its wings were perfect, plus it was a first-winter so this bird is falling onto my lists like a piano coated with setting cement.

White-fronted Goose

Ian had to go but I stayed on and walked about with Kojak. The pair of Shelduck on Spynes Mere moved over to Mercers West Pit and a Green Sandpiper was showing on Middle Pit with a Grey Wagtail not too far away. A Common Buzzard flew over as did a Sparrowhawk. A handful of Great Crested and Little Grebes were around along with a handful of Shovelers, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Ducks etc. Two Common Snipe were easy to spot at Spynes Mere where an amazing three Little Egrets gave themselves up. My first Chiffchaff of the year was great to see around the edge of Mercers Lake.

Thanks Graham for this great find and to Ian and Kojak for the lifts.