Only a minute later I came in view of a small part of a large stubble field. And not 100m away were 13 of these:
Now, 13 Greylag Geese may not mean much to you, but away from Holmethorpe and Beddington, this is a ND&B moment of joy! The geese were restless and started to walk away, down the hill and out of view. I followed them, creeping along the edge of a copse until it stopped, revealing to me a panoramic view of the whole field - which looked like this!!
Bloody hell, had I been transported to Slimbridge? This was but a part of the goose-strewn scene set before me. My water-free downland patches (Canons Farm, Epsom and Walton Downs) receive a handful of feral goose records a year, mostly fly-overs. Double-figure counts are very unusual. And now I was being confronted by 188 Canada and 151 Greylag! Even my highest counts from Holmethorpe and Beddington seldom reached such heights. In all honesty, there was more likelihood of me finding a Yellow-browed Warbler out here this morning than coming across such numbers of geese. They tolerated me for 15 minutes before flying off westwards, keeping low and possibly pitching down nearby. Not to be overshadowed, 750+ Stock Doves were feeding over several of the neighbouring stubble fields. My highest count for this species anywhere. In fact, it appears to be the highest count ever made in the county. Who says inland, water-free patch birding is dull? It is anything but...
|The geese have gone, the Stock Doves departed - the famous Walton Downs stubble field|