Tuesday 30 December 2008

A Christmas Goose!

Our first Christmas at home with the new nipper and my first patch birding on Christmas day. Sadly, it did not result in an American Robin, with the best bird being the regular Barn Owl with the manky wing, or possibly the 14 lb turkey I cremated later on.

Adelaide enjoyed unwrapping her presents and then playing with the wrapping paper, and too much booze and food was consumed by all.

On boxing day, Santa had left a couple of avian pressies with first three Dark-bellied Brents sitting out on the middle of the reservoir being the only Brents seen this year since a single on New Years Day! They were later joined by a fourth bird. More excitement was to come... While watching the Brents, they suddenly stretched their necks and started calling. They then took flight and joined a group of geese flying towards me along the north shore. I switched to my scope and realised they were dark, with white flashes encircling their beaks - White-fronts! They came straight towards me down the reservoir, 30 in all, passing straight over me showing off nice black belly bars, and dark underwings. They headed off towards Paxton Pits. The Brents peeled off and circled back west down the reservoir. Fantastic - my first White-fronts at Grafham Water, and my 168th species for the year, thus equaling my previous yearlist record.

The usual cast of diver, grebe, scaup and RC pochards were still off the dam, and together with a crisp, frosty dawn, it had been a beautiful way to start the day.

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