Brent Gees are common winter visitors to the UK and the coast of western Europe with birds arriving from Scandinavia, western Russia and Siberia. They are barely larger than a Mallard at 55-62 cm in length and usually form large flocks on coastal grasslands, wetlands and beaches. They can also be found in North America with the subspecies there (nigricans) being known as the Black Brant or Brant Goose, which is much darker with a larger white neck flash and is considered by some as a good candidate for elevation to a full species. A few of this variant arrive in the UK each year, along with a few of the pale-bellied Greenland and Svalbard birds (subspecies hrota). Their diet is mostly eelgrass at sea and grass on land and they eat throughout the winter in order to return well-fed and ready to begin the short breeding season on islands north of the Arctic Circle.
1-2: Farlington Marshes LNR, Hampshire, 18/12/2012.
2-4: Mayflower Park, Southampton, 15/01/2013.