Winter geese

At this time of year the key to watching wildlife is to look up and scan the skies. The summer visitors have gone and it is arrival time for the winter migrants. I think it is Brampton’s proximity to the River Bure that puts it in the flight path for migrating birds.

It is Michaelmas and Wednesday morning bought the first skein of wild geese over the village – or at least the first one that I have spotted so far. Geese fly in the characteristic V-formation skein and this one was heading north for some reason, presumably in search of freshly harvested sugar beet fields. The skein itself was tightly formed by roughly 40 geese, although jostling for position at the back had led to the start of a “W”, albeit temporarily. It was the calls of the geese that grabbed the attention, a very musical yelping like a pack of hounds out for a morning run. You can hear why they are referred to as Gabriel’s Hounds in some parts of England.

The Brampton skein sounded like to me like Pink Footed Geese, which is a species which spends its winters in North Norfolk, but Grey Geese are easily confused and they may have been some of the Bean Geese which winter in the Yare Valley. I will concentrate more next time.

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