In a field near Flanders part 1

Flanders Moss NNR

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The fields around Flanders Moss are like the motorway service station on an August Bank holiday at the moment. There are families piling in for a bit of refreshment and a rest before carrying on with their journey. Parents have made the trip before but youngsters are doing it for the first time and learning the ropes.

It’s goose moving time.

I am not sure what it is about geese that is stirs the emotions:

– maybe it is that they colour a particular season, especially autumn?

– they are on the move at dramatic times of day, dawn and dusk?

– their energy and drive is invigorating for us?

– they are big striking birds that demand attention,

– or the noise of hundreds going overhead gets the blood coursing?

– or maybe it is something deeper and it chimes with a primitive urge within us to migrate at this time of year as well.

Whatever the reason, geese are pouring into the country and thousands are stopping off on the Carse of Stirling to feed up before heading further south. Every day at the moment flocks are moving around the landscape making a tremendous din, filling the sky and carpeting the fields. It is a wildlife spectacular worth sampling.

Most of the geese are pink-footed geese but mixed in amongst them are Greylag geese plus a few of the resident and non-native Canada geese. By parking up at a gateway to a field where they are feeding you can scan the flocks and look out for the differences.

Pink-feet are smaller, have a dark chocolately head and a small bill with pink on the end.

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Greylags in the fore ground, pinkies behind.

Greylags are big chunky geese with a bright orange bill like a carrot (see below).

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And the Canadas have a black head and neck with a white chin strap (see below).
One of these Canada geese has an aberrant marking with extra white on its head.

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So why not take the time to head out to Flanders and do a bit of a wild goose chase on the way.

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