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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Goose spectacular

I was very glad to get back onto the patch this morning and, seeing as many of Canons Farm's best records are from the first week or so of November, I was in great anticipation as to what I might find.

I checked the barns near Canons Farmhouse for Black Redstarts, and Broadfield for just about anything (it is perfect at the moment; plenty of exposed soil with lines of very short winter wheat, and, as always, it's very big). I was making my way for Lunch Wood when I bumped into Jim Hall. Jim is not a serious birder but he walks his two jack russels at Canons Farm most days, knows what he's looking at, carries binoculars and takes an active interest in the birds of the area. I'd just said goodbye after a quick chat when I glanced up at the sky and clapped eyes on a v-formation of large birds heading towards me. It took a few moments for it to sink in what they were, at first I thought they'd be just another flock of gulls then I thought possibly Cormorants for a few seconds, then I realised they were small geese!!!

Brent Geese - MORE HERE
I knew they would most likely be Brents, they were still quite a way off and heading directly towards me so I used this time window to call Jim back and prepare my camera. They were soon nearing and I started to rattle off some shots, I could tell through the viewfinder they were indeed Brent Geese and, as they passed almost directly over us, they started calling - magic!!! I switched from camera to scope as they flew away to the south west. Yes, yes, yes! Patch tick, London tick, Surrey tick and local area tick! Jim and I reckoned about forty birds and inspection of my images later confirmed the true number as thirty-nine.

Jim told me he'd already had a Lapwing, quite a scarce patch bird. I made my way towards the derelict barn area where I picked up a flock of a dozen Lapwings, they dropped down on Broadfield but when a dog walker passed they got up and flew to the south west.

Roy arrived and was pretty gripped off by the geese, he had planned to spend the morning at Canons but his son had wanted to go to a vintage car event so couldn't get there early enough for the geese. We spent twenty minutes skywatching before heading to Newdigate to look for the Yellow-browed Warbler. We spent at least two hours searching for the bird but there was no sight or sound in its favoured area or with the roaming tit flocks. We returned for another stake out at Canons but there wasn't too much else on offer, unfortunately.

Canons Farm & Banstead Woods Life List: 108
Canons Farm & Banstead Woods Year List 2011: 101 (91 at this point last year)