News from Nigel that a Barnacle Goose was with the Bothal Canada flock prompted me to plan a small detour (2m) on the way home to tick it. South of Amble and still with good light I spied a big flock of swans in fields to the East of the A1068 near High Hauxley that hadn't been there on this morning's northward journey. I pulled in and counted 119 Whooper Swan, probably the biggest count I have had this century I reckon.
When I first started birding properly around 1988 I used to go to Big Waters NWT. I remember being so keen that I used to stay, along with Graeme Bowman, until almost total darkness waiting to see if geese or ducks would fly in to roost. Often identification would be nigh on impossible, I remember one particular night when a female sawbill came in and could we hell sort out whether it was Goosander or Merganser in the fading light.
I recount this because after my impromptu stop the light was piss poor by the time I got to Bothal. The Canada flock was in the field about 400m away. Just enough light to scope through them and pick out the smaller grey and white body head dipped behind one of it's larger cousins. Nigel's quite right about forgetting the size differential although it makes the Canadas look large and muscular when compared to the slimmer frame of the BG.