Nice to get out at the weekend. We have the builders in and everything is a bit all over the place as we have lost the use of three rooms for a few weeks, the ‘kitchen’ is now a camping stove and microwave in a tiny spare bedroom. The sun was shining but the wind was still a bit cool. After a bit of deliberation it was decided we should go along the North Norfolk coast to see if we could locate a very rare goose that has been in the Cley/Salthouse area this past couple of weeks.
The goose in question has been hanging around with a mobile flock of Brent Geese (Branta bernicla) so I slowly drove past the marshes as Mrs H scanned the fields. A flock was spotted just past Salthouse village but it was distant and there was no where to stop safely. I carried on and thought I would try down Beach Road in Cley. A van was parked by a field gate and my faithful spotter called out “geese!” Sure enough they were Brents and a quick scan revealed our ‘target’.
Now that is a goose definitely worth looking out for. A little phrase in England for such a beauty is ‘Bobby Dazzler’. A bit of caution must be taken when seeing these birds in the wild and that includes any rare or exotic species, are they really ‘wild’ or have they hopped over a fence from an ornamental wildfowl collection? Well it seems this fellow is as good as it can possibly get to being the ‘real deal’. It wasn’t long before other birders turned up, word travels fast in the rare bird world, and soon there were dozens “oohing” and “aahing” and to make it better it was very close to the road, just the swaying reeds in the roadside ditch making photography tricky at times.
So where does it come from? The Red-breasted Goose breeds in Arctic Siberia on the Taymyr Peninsula (the same area as some Brent Geese). They over-winter near the Black Sea coast of Romania, Bulgaria and to a lesser extent Northern Greece and a Country in most peoples thoughts right now, Ukraine. Sometimes the Red-breasted will join the Brents and head west into Europe and pitch up in the Low Countries mostly the Netherlands. Then it’s a short hop over the North Sea to England. This one turned up, with another of it’s kind, in Essex. The Brent Geese flock then split up with half heading north up to Norfolk with this one among them.