Friday, 19 February 2010

I Bean, I saw, I conquered – Northumberland Coast

Yes! I bring some good news. Finally I saw some Bean Geese today and they where Tundra Bean’s, not Tiaga or Baked. I personally treat Tiaga and Tundra as the same species, not separate (do my readers?).

The day started off with me, Stew, and Andrew-G-Raine getting lost and missing out turning. This worked in our favour as we saw 30c Whooper Swan in the fields near Cresswell which we wouldn’t have saw had we not took the wrong turn. The first stop was the Geese, I got soaked and frozen due to the blizzard at first and then it cleared up. Soon after I picked up the first Bean Goose of the day though views where distant and very brief. I first noticed it as it was scratching its head with its right leg and the deep orange colour stood out very well. Along with the Bean Geese there where 4000c Pink-footed Geese, a handful of Barnacle Geese, and a few Canada’s and Greylag’s.

We then moved on to Cresswell to have our lunch, after lunch we headed for the hide. On the way there we where rewarded by flocks of Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Starlings, and a few Pink-footed Geese (again!). Then we got to the patch down to the hide and where rewarded with Reed Bunting and also a Wren (on way back and after lunch). Also we where treated to Black-headed Gulls and a few Magpies. We entered the hide and had a look over the watta’ we had Curlew, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Grey Heron, Pink-footed Geese (surprise!), Redshank, Tufted Duck, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gull, Goldeneye, and a single Dunlin.

We then left Cresswell and we set of for Druridge Pools, on our way I was stopped by the Geese and instead of torturing Stew and Andrew-G-Raine to look through the geese I said I would get out and then walk along to Druridge Bay later once I had finished looking through the geese. No sooner had they drove off when they returned and told me to move up as the geese where closer up the road. So I went further up the road quietly got out the car, and then minutes later they spotted me and all took off to the other hill. This worked in my favour though. They had landed in a field on a slope and when I scanned them I picked up the 2 Tundra Bean's nearly straight away. I watched them for 10 mins or so and then ring Andrew-G-Raine. He informed me there was no sign of the Smew so I headed to the car and met them. I took them back so that could have a good look at the Bean’s but the light was bad and I doubt they would have been able to see any leg colour at all.

So we headed off to Druridge Bay CP for a quick look and all of the expected park birds where there but there was an unexpected drake Red-breasted merganser. We then moved onto East Chevington, the driveway up to the reserve rewarded us with Common Buzzard being mobbed by a crow. On the reserve we added Great-black backed Gull to the list as well as 3 redhead Smew that had obviously moved from Druridge Bay. A winter plumage stoat was nice to see as I had never seen one before.

From here we headed to Woodhorn Flash, near Woodhorn Grange we picked up the Whooper Swans that had clearly moved from where we first saw them. Some were closer than others but same as before we couldn’t stop or slow down so very brief views were had. I must admit I am a bit naughty as I assume these 25-30c Swans were Whoopers that we saw on the morning and the afternoon. However how many people see flocks of Mutes in this sort of a number sitting in water logged fields? When we got to Woodhorn Flash there was a small flock of Greylag and Canada’s that contained 4 White-fronted Geese. We all noticed there was very little white on these birds at the front of their bills, however they where all a nice dark colour and the breast bands where seen quite well through my scope.
(2 Bean Geese and Pink-footed Geese first arrow is meant to be pointing at goose facing right)

(Just trust me right! lol)

Bean Goose photos - Price: £negotiable ;)

(3 of 4 White-fronted Geese present with Greylags)

Year List updates:
107 - Whooper Swan
108 - Pink-footed Goose
109 - Barnacle Goose
110 - Bean Goose
111 - Dunlin
112 - Smew
113 - White-fronted Goose

Life List updates:
233 - Bean Goose

British List:
 231 - Bean Goose

So it was a fantastic day overall with 6 species of Geese. That's not bad now is it! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading it as well.


  1. Hi andrew , well done with the Tundra Bean geese and i dont split them either , i have added your blog on my fav. blog list and will drop by from time to time , all the best Rob

  2. Well done on the Geese. I'll pass on the photos lol.

  3. I get a Bean Goose then I see everyone has bean and done it. ;-) Well done. Brian

  4. Aye, its Bean a funny old week. 2 Life ticks isn't bad now is it?

  5. Glad you caught up with Woodcock too the other day Andrew. Crossbills eh. Not too difficult. Get a lift up to Harwood Forest on a nice day in the next month. Walk the tracks and listen carefully for the 'clip clip clup' calls as they fly around. If they come over head you can see their heavy crossed bills even in flight. They often come down to puddles to drink or get grit from tracks too. The mature pines near Winter's Gibbet are a good spot to start looking then visit Harwood Village and walk from there. Goshawks should be displaying too...

  6. I'll be in Darlington 2 months from now for a busniess meeting and would like to ask some suggestions from you guys about nice tourist spots to visit