I decided to pop over to Upton Warren for a last stab at adding to my Upton Warren year list. As a relatively inexperienced birder ( life list <200 and only 18 months back in the saddle since a teen) I was chuffed to reach the lofty figure of 128 there this year. Oddly I have discovered some common species can be quite tricky to get at 'The Warren', and I was missing Coal Tit, Nuthatch, House Sparrow, as well as Great Back Backed Gull (how odd when you have seen a Bluethroat there !) However despite lingering on the East track for around 40 minutes ( a good place for Coal Tit and Nuthatch allegedly) and spending a while scanning the Moors for a GBBG, I 'struck out' . On returning to the car a nice group of Lesser Redpolls showed, and I attempted a picture ( see below). These are tricky birds to photograph, fidgety, often in silhouette, and the light was awful, so there, I have my excuses in first.
I left at lunchtime, slightly disappointed not to have just notched one of those target species.So 128 it was,or so I thought........
At just after 2pm my phone beeped, I ignored it, trying to find a picture of a Redpoll that was in focus, or correctly exposed, or had a Redpoll in it. It beeped again, picking it up there was a couple of messages saying 'Brent Goose, Flashes, Upton Warren !!' ( The Flashes is part of the reserve, the Goose was not behaving inappropriately)
Minutes later I was heading back too from where I had just returned..Brent Goose..hmm, had I seen one at Slimbridge ? wasn't sure, could I visualise a Brent Goose..mental blank.. even non grey geese are are a bit of a grey area for me,oh well, was sure this was a rarity at The Warren, and a potential lifer !
Jumping out the car, one of the regular stalwarts was gathering his gear ''been waiting a long time for one of these'' he said.Allready nervy of dipping, I lost the plot slightly and dashed off for the tick, leaving my car door wide open.
Anyway, I bagged it, Brent Goose, really smart bird, dark bellied series apparently( and it was a lifer ), also, in my haste I had forgotten to remove memory card from laptop, so no picture, oh well, 129 !! Or so I thought.....
Whilst enjoying the 'Goose afterglow' with fellow birders, 3 large gulls drifted over, Lesser Backs , hang on the middle one was Brute, very dark upper wings, the call 'Great Black Backed Gull' went up..result .. Year list 130 !! ( and an Upton tick to boot)
What a great end to 2011 ! Hope you will pop back in 2012 for the occasional update