Before today there was only one accepted record of Bean Goose for the Axe patch, a lone Tundra Bean Goose at Lower Bruckland Ponds in January '05, but I have seen four more.
Although many things that happened during my childhood are now nothing but a fuzzy haze within my brain-space, I have always remembered well the sight of a flock of four Bean Geese that Dad showed me, feeding in the field just south of Seaton Marshes sometime in the mid 90's. Donald Campbell had found them a few days before during a tram trip. I recall seeing mostly the neck and upper body of these geese as they fed among juncus, with the birds often sat or stood in a large dip in the field, meaning we only got glimpses of their bright orange legs. Their beaks with black with small orange patches midway, and overall they were very dark looking grey-geese.
A month or two ago, soon after Taiga and Tundra Bean Goose had been split, the Devon birding community hurried together to gather evidence to get an old record of two Taiga Bean Goose on Exminster Marshes in 1997 accepted. With talk of these supposed Taigas then dropping in on the Axe, I thought I'd do some digging on the off chance this report coincided with our four Beanies. Turns out they did, and after hours of rummaging through Dad's old birding diaries, we found these entries in the 1997 diary...
I don't for one moment think our birds, or two of them, were Taigas. I would say it was just a coincidence these Bean Geese were on the Axe when the supposed Taigas where on Exminster, but it turns out 1997 saw a big influx of Bean Geese (almost all Tundra) into the UK, with small flocks like this dotted around throughout the length and breadth of the country.
I showed the above page of Dad's diary to County Recorder Kevin Rylands, who thought there was enough in the short entries to warrant submitting them to the DBRC. This evening he told me the great news that they have been accepted as Bean Geese sp. probably Tundra. Awesome. Well done Dad and many thanks Kev.