After an absence of a few weeks from visiting Nethergong, I was keen to start off the final month of the year and look for that final elusive species which would take me to 110 species for the year, more than I could have imagined at the start of the year. I left home at 6am on the bike in the dark and arrived c20 minutes later where there was clear skies and a light wind. After locking the bike up, I spent the next 4 hours or so walking the circuit a few times in mostly nice sunshine where I managed to see or hear an excellent total of 62 species. As I walked up to the eastern gate in the dark, I could hear 2 Tawny Owls calling and a few Redwing called as they appeared from their roost sites. As the light picked up, I spent some time watching over the fields from the gate where I noted c500 Cormorant flying out from the Stour Valley. For the past few sessions, I have hoped that the Tundra Bean Geese that have been present at Grove Ferry would fly over Nethergong air space but despite quite a bit of time put in, I still have not seen them until at 8.24am this morning, I got onto a flock of Geese flying north east from Grove Ferry. A quick count revealed they were the 17 Tundra Bean Geese (110) and I watched in amazement as they flew off into the distance on Chislet Marshes. It wasn't long until 8.35am that I picked them up again flying back towards me and past me towards Stodamarsh. Although a little distant, I was just happy to rattle off a few shots which show some of the features quite well.
Tundra Bean Geese
A big bonus species for the year and 110 species achieved for the year, brilliant, but will there be more I wonder? Other birds seen this morning included 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 3 Snipe, 1 Skylark, 5 Fieldfare, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 7 Bullfinch, 3 Long tailed Tit, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Water Rail, 2 Green Woodpecker, 6 Yellowhammer, 10 Stock Dove, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Sparrowhawk and 3 Mistle Thrush. There were 3 Pheasant, 2 Kestrel, 4 Stonechat, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Green Sandpiper, 3 Mute Swan, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Jay, 1 Ring necked Parakeet, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Peregrine, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Common Buzzard and c400 Lapwing. An excellent session made all the better by the Bean Geese and reaching a total I didn't expect to get this year. With a good cold spell, maybe I could add a few more species yet. The beauty of watching a patch.