To Be Frank - Well, let’s go round again
One of the lovely things about living on the coast in this neck of the woods – one of many lovely things, in fact – is that at this time of year you get some rather unusual visitors.
They’re never shy in coming forward, quite forthright about letting you know exactly how they feel, and they’re as eccentric as the day is long. In fact, they fit in a treat round here.
Pink-feet. No, I don’t mean members of The Sandie Shaw Appreciation Society (what? What do you mean, you didn’t get that? Really? Am I that old? Don’t answer that!).
Geese! No, not Mother Goose – pink-footed geese! Anser brachyrhynchus! (can you tell I looked that up? No? Oh good, forget I said that, then).
They come from Norway, Iceland and Greenland (he said, reading off the RSPB website) (oops!), and at this time of year, to paraphrase a wartime saying, they’re overfed, overhead and over here!
The thing is, you don’t just get the odd one or two popping over to say hello. Oh no. We’re talking sheer spectacle, here.
I was out for a walk the other day, when I heard an even noisier than average kerfuffle from the skies over the beach. I looked around to see the sky absolutely filled with geese in the distance. There must have been hundreds of them, maybe over a thousand. Maybe a million, a billion, or even a trillion. A lot, anyway (can you tell my RSPB membership lapsed?).
To hear them approaching sounds like the world’s biggest old wives’ meeting is coming - a constant and increasingly loud gabble of urgent voices, reaching a crescendo as they pass overhead, before fading just as fast into the distance again in the other direction.
It really does sound like the goose version of persistent uncontrollable gossip, and you do wonder what it is they’re getting so excited about (food, probably!) (said he, tucking into a nice piece of cake).
Sometimes, though, their behaviour is down-right puzzling.
And perhaps a more learned ornithologist than me (cough) can shed some light on this.
One day I saw rather a large flock up in the sky near the sea. I stopped to watch, to see whether they were just leaving the shore, or coming in to land there. And that was the trouble.
As I started watching, I noticed that the ones on the left were heading to the right all the time, while the ones on the right kept flying towards the left ... yes, they were going round in circles! In one enormous loop in the sky!
What earth was going on? Had their sat nav broken?! Did the left wing not know what the right wing was doing?
Or were they literally going “round the block,” waiting for all the stragglers before they set off for the fields?
“Come on, you lot, we can’t hang around all day, you know! Crops won’t eat themselves!”
“Oh no, it’s Honker and Flapper and their crew – we’re always waiting for them!”
“Well we can’t keep going round much longer – they’ll just have to catch up!”
And that’s pretty much what happened. Eventually they stopped circling, and just headed off inland – with the stragglers picking up the rear, some distance behind, as best they could!
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Weather for King's Lynn
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west