Today was the next patch visit. I was hoping for some summer visitors, a Willow Warbler, a Swallow, perhaps a Yellow Wagtail, maybe even a Wheatear or Redstart. Well, we can all dream.
I'd wandered down the Stort, got decent Blackcap views, Cetti's Warbler singing, and pairs of Mandarin and Grey Wagtail, and had walked up to and along next to the railway line when I heard the cackle of a goose, turned round and there were three geese flying in my general direction. The lower two were Canada Geese, but the third was smaller, grey, with a large white blaze round a pink bill. On continued inspection it had a few black feathers in the belly, and the forewings whilst paler were a discreet light grey rather than full off-white. Yes, here flying over a field in rural Essex, was a White Fronted Goose.
It separated, Gained height, flew around as if looking for somewhere to land and gave a couple of dog-like yaps. Unsatisfied it turned west and flew into Herts airspace and off, thereby getting on two county patch lists.
This wasn't the end of it. Half an hour later I had walked up the side of the valley to a vantage point overlooking the town, and from there saw a grey goose flying over the far side off towards the high ground. I'd alerted the local birders on WhatsApp, and Laurence saw a distant goose silhouette leaving the area as he drove up. Close.
As you can guess, the rest of the walk failed to reach these heights. Six Fieldfare flying over then settled in a field were excellent, as was a Green Woodpecker perched in a bush and a Red Kite in a field. But honestly, not just a completely unexpected tick, but as happens on local patches a pretty decent flight view to boot.