More than one in fact, but ‘geese’ doesn’t work in the rhyme. The Ouse valley, not renowned for major flocks of wildfowl, is currently host to a remarkable confluence of unusual geese.
At Piddinghoe for the last few days there have been a couple of Tundra Bean Geese, several White-fronted Geese and around a dozen Barnacle Geese. Some of these (or possibly even different birds) were seen further north at Iford today too.
Bean Geese are scarce in Sussex (and in the UK as a whole), and White-fronts pretty localised. However, this isn’t the first time they’ve turned up together at Piddinghoe – a few winters ago there was a group that also included two Pink-footed Geese.
The Barnacle Geese would normally be dismissed at a feral lot – there’s a substantial flock resident at Barcombe Reservoir, north of Lewes, and although thousands winter in Scotland and Ireland, they rarely make it this far south.
But in recent days gaggles have turned up across the south east in unusual places, including the Thames and North Kent marshes, and both the lower Cuckmere and Ouse valleys. If recognised as true migrants, this would be a significant arrival.
Elsewhere in the Ouse, the Cattle Egret was reported again today just north of Piddinghoe (in the ‘donkey field’), and a Short-eared Owl at Iford.
Closer still, reports of a Green Sandpiper overwintering on Glynde Reach (eastern section?) and still a large mixed flock of winter thrushes (numbering 200+) visiting the paddocks at Firle (both via Paul Stevens).