Wednesday, 2 December 2020

White-front surprise

Surrey is hardly renowned as being a hotspot for wintering geese, but this recent push of (Russian) White-fronted Geese into the south-east of England has even given the humble Uber-patch a piece of the action. The Mole valley flood plain, at Betchworth, is currently hosting up to 47 of them (45 were present this afternoon when I was there). The birds were keeping at distance for most of the hour on site, but then came closer just as we were about to leave. With them were 346 Canada, 302 Greylag, 36 Egyptian and a lone Barnacle. The scene, as viewed from a nearby hillock, was more reminiscent of Norfolk parkland.

6 comments:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I wonder if there are any goodies amongst the huge flocks of geese next to the Trent near me, but I'd never be able to stop them

Gibster said...

As a teenager in North Cheam, I had a flock of a dozen or so stratospherically high grey geese go over one cold winters day. I always fancied they were White-fronts, but bloody hell -how many did you just see on the deck?!?!

Steve Gale said...

Simon - undoubtably there would be.

Seth - all 45 of them!

Derek Faulkner said...

Always worth checking for the odd Bean Goose, we're getting one or two with Whitefronts here in Kent.
166 Whitefronts yesterday on The Swale NNR.

Steve Gale said...

Those numbers are like the good old days aren’t they Derek?

Gibster said...

No Steve, they're not! I had over 1000 on Harty Marshes in the winter of 1993/4, visited them several times until I finally saw the Lesser White-front amongst them. Most winters there would be well over 400 present there. It was always THE place for White-fronts for me, that and the far end of Elmley Marshes where most folks didn't go. 166 is a shadow of those former numbers (though to be fair, I'm referring to different sites on Sheppey and 166 could be an excellent count for Swale NR).