RSPB Snettisham

It was an early start yesterday morning, and this morning, when I finally got my arse out of bed and down the road to see the pink footed geese and waders at Snettisham. It’s only a ten minute drive from my house, but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never actually been down there to see the spectacle of the geese and the waders.

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Yesterday and today were very high tides. Unfortunately yesterday it was a flat calm and the tide just didn’t come up high enough to push the waders off the mud, and I was too late for the geese. So I went back again today. There was a nice onshore breeze, and I was about half an hour earlier. You can see the geese far out on the flats, and you can hear them too. They sound excited, as if they’re all discussing the coming day’s adventures, and then the noise rises to fever pitch as they begin to lift into the air. I always think it’s interesting to think about the very first goose that leaps into the air. There’s no way of seeing it because the rest are after it in an instant and before you know it several thousand of them form a black morass moving skyward. Once they get into their stride so to speak they begin to form the characteristic v-shaped skeins streaming across the sky. This morning there were three separate launches, each with maybe five to eight thousand individuals. It is a sight that, unless you see and hear in person, can’t be imagined.

The geese were the highlight for me, the waders were pretty impressive, but not in the same league as the geese.

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As I write it’s dusk, and over the football results I can hear the geese passing over my house; in a straight line it’s only a mile or so to their roosts out on the mud flats. I turn the TV and the lights off and sit and listen to their curious high-pitched two-tone squeal as they return from their feeding grounds inland.

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