It was that time of year again when i take the rest of the family to Basildon to meet a group of friends so they can all go to the panto as such it mean i get my yearly trip to Bowers. I could go to other places but i like Bowers, very few people around.
As such by 11.30am i was standing in the car park freezing, a few cars but nobody to be seen. A quick shot of coffee and i headed to the path leading past the main barns. It was immediately evident that there were a lot of Redwing & Fieldfare around. All trees seemed to hold one or the other.
I arrived at the first gate and viewed the fields. Geese, Wigeon and Lapwing. Then amongst the Greylag 15ish White Fronts plus what looked like a Pink Footed Goose. Now for some reason i started thinking Tundra Bean Goose. I hadn't seen it in flight, it was a long way off and i couldn't see any leg colour plus i haven't seen either Bean yet so have no experience with them but something got me pondering. I would be better viewing it from the benches.
As i wandered over i bumped into another birder....." Hello mate, Bewick Swan from the benches plus a Pink Foot" We chatted for a bit and it turns out one of the SOG lot saw it fly in.
At the benches it was a lot closer and my hopes of a Tundra Bean were dashed. The single Bewick's Swan floated about; head up but not doing much.
I moved on to East Haven;
The sun was in an awful spot for viewing here but as long as i kept far left and far right i was ok: Knot, Dunlin, BlackWit, Green Sand, Redshank plus numerous Gulls. I had a shift through them but couldn't find anything other than the usual suspects.
The other thing the guy mentioned was a few Waxwing at Rayleigh Weir McDonalds. So i decided to head there. According to the news he had received some 300 birders were there getting there 2017 year ticks in.
Once i got back from Rayleigh i headed to the benches in search of Water Pipit. Apparently two had been seen there that morning before i had arrived (another bit of news, this time from a guy at McDonalds).
To my supprise as i was about 100 yeards from them i heard Bewicks, i looked up to see 8 Bewick Swan fly over my head land some way in front. Sure enough they were there and keeping them selves separate from the single bird.
Time was up, a few hours birding and it was time to pick the family up......