Monday, 2 March 2015


Managed to see black brant geese on each of the last three days in three different locations on the Island - involving potentially three different birds. Two at West Mersea and one in East Mersea.
This one pictured above was the most obliging, as it fed in front of the Hard car park on Monday 2nd. This bird has been a regular to this spot through the winter and was behaving as if it was paired up.

The black brant is the North American and eastern Siberian race of brent goose which has the occasional individual turning up here amongst the thousands of dark-bellied brent geese. They are much blacker, have a whiter flank and a big white neck collar.

Feeding in the fields by the Strood on Sunday 1st were two black brants in different flocks. This one is different from the bird in the picture below, as I'd just walked between the two groups and photographed each brant.

Despite the strong wind blowing, I was able to lie down on the side of the seawall, and take a steady shot of this black brant with the camera. Luckily this flock took off from the far side of the field and landed much closer.
Another goose that caught my eye as they approached was a bird which showed white wings. Unfortunately when the geese landed I lost track of it. This is probably the bird seen two months ago in a field near Cross Lane which has a white neck.

It seemed quite easy to pick out the black brants, even on the Strood channel, here the bird is in the middle of the group. This was the first sighting of a black brant during the walk, then a short while later one was seen in the field which got me thinking there must be two birds here. This swimming bird I think later flew back onto the fields and is the bird two pictures above.

There were plenty of brent geese in the fields and on the Strood with about 1500 birds seen. It's always a magical sight when they take noisily to the air and pass overhead.

There was also a black brant at East Mersea on Saturday on Reeveshall in amongst this flock (somewhere in the middle on the left hand side of this picture!). Martin Cock and I scanned this big flock of 3000 geese and located a black brant within a few minutes. There has been a big flock here for the last month and this black brant is probably regular here, rather than mixing with the Strood birds.

Some of the brent geese took to the air when a brown hare ran across the field towards them. Here some of the geese are coming back down, set against Brightlingsea in the background.

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