The journey went smoothly and along the way I managed some good sightings - fulmars at Teignmouth, pintails on the River Exe and a fox near Totnes on the train to Exeter, and a dipper, goosanders and stock doves on the scenic train journey to Barnstaple.
Arriving off the bus at Braunton high street I walked out to the nearby marshes and the fields were very waterlogged with some of the roads flooded too and very busy with lots of cars and cyclists on the tiny country lanes. There were plenty of birds around in the fields and hedgerows - good numbers of linnets, chaffinches, stock doves, jackdaws and skylarks along with greenfinch, goldfinch, blue tit, great tit, starling, carrion crow and woodpigeon.
I eventually arrived at the Sandy Lane car park and quickly found the tundra bean goose feeding in the fields with 10 mute swans, unfortunately distant and with heat hazy views into the sunlight but good to see none the less, only my third tundra bean goose after 2 distant sightings of one at Slimbridge in 2008 and 2013.
It spent short periods feeding on the grass with the swans before settling down for longer periods on the ground to rest and preen when it was often obscured by grassy tussocks - its dark head and neck, dark bill with orange nail and orange legs were all seen well despite the less than ideal viewing conditions.
Tundra Bean Goose with Mute Swans - my "zoomed in" effort
Tundra Bean Goose - courtesy of DBWPS Website
While watching the goose I managed a few other good sightings - 3 chiffchaffs were flitting about in the hedgerow feeding on insects with a goldcrest, long tailed tits and a brief view of a firecrest; a Cettis warbler and a water rail were heard calling in the reeds along a ditch; a male kestrel regularly hovered overhead despite the attentions of mobbing jackdaws; 2 pairs of stonechats fed from the tops of sedges, seeming to tolerate each others close proximity; 20+ teal were spooked from a ditch and flew off across the fields; and a weasel dashed across the path, looking quite small and lacking a black tip to the tail.