The week commencing Mon 22nd Jan. turned out to be a very productive time for me, with some good finds, at least at local level. Monday morning I was keen to get my Marston webs count in, as I’d been away in Gloucs. at the weekend. Nothing overly exciting, a pinkfoot was amongst the c.450 greylags.
Tuesday I decided to nip over to the Kirkby/Woodhall area. Firstly a drive along the banks of the Witham; 22 goosanders noted between the Bain mouth and Kirkstead. Next point of call was Woodhall airfield pits. There was lots and lots of wildlife here. Much scanning through the wigeon eventually turned up a strikingly different bird showing green on the face! Alas it wasn’t the much-prized American, but a hybrid Eurasian X American wigeon, or wacky variant. Very smart duck though. After observing this bird through the telescope at length (it was always quite distant), the short journey to Kirkby pits was made. Again there were birds aplenty to look at, a notable count of 12 redshanks were on an island along with a black-tailed godwit. There are always a lot of large gulls here and I picked up an Iceland gull (2nd winter) on the tip pit. Well, that wasn’t a too shoddy day. The following morning (Weds), another patch visit to Marston beckoned. 2 green sands, 2 chiffchaff, grey wag and 19 curlews were noted. It was getting quite late when I scanned through the large graylag flock. I picked up on a bird that initially I thought was the regularly seen pinkfoot. But a moment later alarm bells rang-it had orange, not pink legs. It wasn’t straightforward as it had been feeding in a muddy field, its bill was covered in mud and legs didn’t look too bright. However, the structure, size, shape and general appearance spelt Bean goose! I circulated the pics between a few mates and posted them on twitter. It was one.
The following morning the goose was still there and there was no doubt now. It had had a good wash and brush up and was looking superb.The goose attracted one or two visitors and was still in place over the weekend.
On Friday a good search of the sewage works area was called for and it came up trumps with a cracking Siberian tristis chiffchaff. It was easily identifiable on plumage, showing no green tones at-all. Underparts were a lovely silky whitish and the legs were black. Chestnut ear coverts and beady dark eye all added to the look. At times, from below it almost reminded me of a non breeding plumage red breasted flycatcher. This was a really neat looking little bird, frequenting the same bushes as last winter’s lesser whitethroat. There was a regular collybita chiffy too, sometimes alongside for comparison. Staying with the bird for some time, I wanted to hear it call, it wasn’t doing!, it just fed constantly on the many small flies here. Eventually I heard a bullfinch-like call, just once.