Friday, 13 March 2015

Brent Geese

Dungeness - 0745hrs - cold, dry, sunny, south-east veering east, 3-4 - We joined TG and PB in the  hide to reports of a slow early seawatch apart from Brent Geese, which as the hour progressed saw several hundreds clip the point. The spring Brent Goose passage is one of the great birding spectacles at Dungeness as straggling skeins of these beautiful little geese, of the dark-bellied race, abandon their winter haunts along the south coast and head north-east towards the Arctic tundra of northern Russia and Siberia. As they made their way up-Channel the on-shore wind pushed the flocks close in so`s not only were the views spectacular, but you could also hear them babbling away to one another. By mid-morning at least 1,200 were logged past the point, although the final tally for the day will undoubtedly be much higher. Terrific stuff, and a sight and sound that I never tire of witnessing.
Also noted was a trickle of auks, Gannets, Red-throated Divers, Common Scoters and three Bar-wits.

                                Brent Geese on migration, Dungeness

Lade - Back at the local patch the usual wildfowl on the pits included four Shelducks. Around the willow swamp and in the shelter of the increasing easterly wind Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Chiffchaff were all in song.
At the allotment in Lydd a Black Redstart flitted around the sheds and fences while the adjacent sheep fold attracted a flock of 50 Common Gulls. As I laboured away on my plot looking for a bit of terrier like assistance Barney looked on in distain...

                                `Mmm, looks too much like hard work to me...`

Dengemarsh - After working up a sweat we headed for Springfield Bridge and a second look for yesterdays Slavonian Grebe which eventually showed after half an hour, just as I was about to call it a day. It was diving almost continually out on the lake and within a patch of reeds, so not an easy bird to view and no chance of a pic. Several Marsh Harriers drifted over and a Peregrine was once again flushing all and sundry on the fields behind Hookers.


  1. Great account of the Brent Geese, Paul. On my reserve we currently have a mixed flock of 450 Brent Geese and 330 Whitefronts and the sights and sounds have been awesome.
    Love the shots of Barney, what great companions dogs are.

  2. Thanks Derek, I expect you`ll get a few more Brents dropping in on the island as they press northwards; they really are a fantastic sight when moving in large numbers. And as for our canine side kicks, they really are the best of companions; I often chat away to Barney when we`re out, but as yet he`s never replied...