At shortly after 4pm yesterday, just as it was getting dark, news broke of seven bean geese somewhere near Aston. Initially it was a little unclear as to where exactly they were but gradually from the chinese whispers on the grapevine the location was distilled and was later confirmed by the county recorder. It was too late by then to make it over there so many of the keenest county birders were going to arrive at first light in order to maximise their chances of what's a pretty scarce bird for the county. Unfortunately I had to help get L ready for his nursery in the morning so wasn't going to be free until after 8am.
The next day shortly after I'd done my childcare duties I received the news that the birds were still there so quickly set off and one wrong turning and a hurried phone-call for directions later, I arrived at the end of Ham Lane. A fellow birder was just leaving so I got directions and set off on about a mile's trek to just over a little bridge where the birds were located. Just as I started a distinctive "cronk" call alerted me to a couple of ravens which were flying off over one of the fields. Just over the bridge was a field bordering a river with a hedge running across it at about the half way point. The geese were behind this hedge but by walking forward a few paces it was possible to align a gap in the hedge with the birds and hence to get a view. They were several hundred yards away and it was raining quite hard and very gloomy but I managed some classic record shot quality photos.
On the way back I popped in to look at the West Oxford Sailing Club lakes. There were a few pochard, tufted duck and a single goldeneye as well as loads of coots. I'd been rather hoping for a red-crested pochard but there were none to be seen.
Bean goose is a county life tick for me (and plenty of other people too) so it was great to see these very wary birds. It's been a good month for county geese with the pink-foots, a flock of 21 brent geese on Farmoor a couple of days ago (which I missed as I was at Rainham) and now these beans. Some white-fronts and barnacles would round things off nicely!
National Year List 2010
087 raven 22/01/2010 Aston
088 bean goose 22/01/2010 Aston
089 goldeneye 22/01/2010 W.O. Sailing Club
Oxon County Year List 2010
077 raven 22/01/2010 Aston
078 bean goose 22/01/2010 Aston
079 goldeneye 22/01/2010 W.O. Sailing Club