15 Dec
2013
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A goosey gathering

It is drizzling as we walk along the pavement next to the A379 between Cockwood and Starcross. A train thunders past on the adjacent track and a line of geese flap overhead, before spiralling down onto the green lawn of Oak Meadow Golf Club, which is designated as a County Wildlife Site for the birds that spend their winter here. The flock join dozens, if not hundreds of others. These are the small and chic Dark-bellied Brent Geese, which breed in the Russian high Arctic and over-winter on The Exe. There is constant activity, birds coming and going, growling and honking, grazing and bickering at each other.

Oystercatchers whistle shrilly and potter around on the grass. A couple of Canada Geese look like giants amongst the others, whilst the small group of Curlews makes itself inconspicuous in the background. A raft of Herring Gulls doze and several Pied Wagtails dance, hopping into the air from the ground. I lift Izzy up, so that she can see over the fence.

I’m sure that there are many interesting species hidden amongst the crowds of birds, but my binoculars are soon obscured by raindrops and impossible to see through. We are also starting to get soaked, so we hurry back to the car, where a single Winter Heliotrope flowers on the verge.

Checklist

Practicalities

We parked in the lay-by off the A379, close to the Cockwood turning and walked along the pavement towards Starcross. The road is busy, so please take care when crossing.

Other places to see gatherings of geese


 

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