Flanders Moss NNR and Loch Lomond NNR
This weekend just gone, the pink-footed geese have been pouring north over my house. Some groups went north noisily before sunrise and then for several hours into the day many groups of hundreds streamed overhead the spring birdsong punctuated with pulses of excited yelps. Some even went through in the dark, though as it has been a big moon and little cloud, for geese there was light enough to travel. Flanders and Loch Lomond NNRs are both important places for these birds. The Loch Lomond NNR is a night time roosting place for thousands while smaller numbers roost on Flanders occasionally but many thousands feed all around the moss.
They are a bird of a time, place and season. The sound of these geese on the move is one of the most evocative in British natural history, W.H Hudson called a “wild, exhilarating clangour” and seeing them go over never failings to lift your head and stir the blood.
These massed ranks of geese had a feel of a mass clear out, well-wintered geese striding north to cross the sea to Iceland and Greenland ready for the next breeding season. There may not be many more to pass through this spring and we will have to wait for September / October for them to return again. And in the current situation it is hard to predict what state they will find us in but it will be a delight to see and hear them again whatever.