Sunday 6 December 2009

3 Bean Chilly

Another crack at finding the elusive fabalis. It was raining when Willow and me arrived at Cantley. Nothing around, so we headed across to the river to walk the river bank to Buckenham. The rain was fairly light and the wind strong. Very little bird action, save a couple of Curlew and 7 Shelduck flying around. I bumped into a lad called John who had walked from Buckenham, the opposite way to me. I hoped he would have news, but sadly he hadn't seen any geese. Doh!
Will I ever see these pesky Beans?
Anyway, I decided to continue for a little way, as it was nice to be out and the hangover was being blown away rapidly. Rounding some trees, I suddenly saw some geese dropping in, behind a reedbed. I carried on a little way, then peering through the reedtops, I could see a big gang of White-fronts. It occurred to me that I was viewing the northeast corner of Buckenham, but a lot closer than from the windpump. Great views of the White-fronts were had from my obscured position. I didn't dare venture into the open as I didn't want to flush them. Suddenly, some white tertial edges caught my eye...Then, three large, dark wedge-shaped heads craned upwards: Taiga Bean Geese! Totally unexpected, these three had somehow lost the main flock and were hanging out with the White-fronts. They dwarfed the smaller geese, and strutted around in the grass, showing large orange bills, bright orange legs and feet, a rather peculiar sort of buffy-tan breast and dark rear flank patch, dark brown upperparts with neat white fringing. Really corking.

I retraced my steps carefully so as not to flush the birds. I shortly bumped into John and I exchanged my good news. Without warning the heavens opened and I made my excuses and headed off. Within minutes my jeans were soaked through to the skin, as was my hat and gloves. It all felt worthwhile though, seeing the Beans. I strode back along the bank triumphant, battling the gale force wind and driving rain. Willow didnt seem to notice and went charging down the path and fell straight in a ditch. This was hilarious and Willow didnt seem to mind. I think she could sense my delight at seeing the Beans.
As we reached the level crossing, the rain eased, so I had one last scan to the west. To my amazement, a large group of dark geese were dropping in about a quarter of a mile away. They disappeared among the rushes, but I was sure they were more Beans. I scooted up the hill, put Willow, who now resembled a drowned rat, in the car then walked west along the bridleway. Sure enough 70 Bean Geese were in the process of dropping in from the northwest. Where had they come from? They treated me to fabulous views, despite the wind and rain as they grazed their way through the grass. I even managed a few photos. Awesome!
I love birding in the rain!

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