|Buckenham Mill and Cantley Sugarbeet Factory|
Now about those geese. There are about seven species that visit Buckenham every year; greylag, Canada, Egyptian, pink-footed, (feral) barnacle, Taiga bean and white-fronted. The latter two are the big attractions. Buckenham is one of just a handful of sites in the UK to see them. These birds come here every winter in small numbers (there were 196 white-fronts and 32 Taiga bean geese recorded this year), but to see them you need to have a scope on hand. They tend to be at the far back of the fields, half hidden behind dips in the landscape. For a better chance of seeing them a little better, I went up to the old Buckenham windmill. From this viewpoint, I spot a flock of Canada geese with a couple of feral barnacle geese and a few white-fronted geese amongst them. Three bean geese were also with them but flew off as I got to the windmill.
Though they were too far away to photograph, I am still able to tell them apart. Canada geese are large with black necks with a white patch on the head. Barnacle geese are smaller and greyer with a full white head. White-fronted geese are similar to greylags, but with a white patch at the base of a pink bill and dark stripes on the breast. While bean geese are similar to pink-footed geese, but with orange legs and bills. White-fronted and bean geese are probably the rarest of our visiting goose species. The bean goose, in particular, is in decline mainly due to possible human disturbance on their breeding grounds in Scandinavia where they come from.
Other highlights today include; skylarks, fieldfare, pied wagtails and a kestrel hovering along the river bank following us back from the windmill.