I was in the garden when I heard what sounded like the kids had woken up, distant but growing squaks. But a look at the night-sky revealed the evident source of the sounds.
Geese. Passing over within a few minutes were 150 or more (partially) noisy, flapping more or less gracefully, big white birds. Their wobbly arrow shape got blown into two chunks by another gust of wind, which kicked off the next, this time much less faint, more annoyed sounding hink or honk before they reassembled their V and had a breather.
Flocks of birds like that and much bigger ones are feasting on the freshly plowed fields on their arrival or way through. It’s an impressive sight when they’re doing their swarm thing, shapeshifting, changing directions rapidly. The variety in birds here is something else.
I’ve not seen or heard as many different types of birds as in the past year, probably since some rainforest fifteen years ago. Goshawks, sitting and having a look around on fenceposts just next to the road, not long hatched, tiny sparrows almost flying into my face on a morning run in the woods, the encounters are countless. Apart frone seagulls quite in general and the odd poop stained window not a bother, not that there was much choice.
One that sounds like an broken radiosignal, coming from a trumpet, has been doing it’s thing behind the house for the past month or so. There’s five or six of them, showing off crazy dives at high speeds with 90° turns, centimetres above ground, slingshooting off.
When I went for a run one morning last week I saw a red kite circle above where I set off. They’re the most impressive birds of prey around to me. With their distinct split tail and a dash of dark red against shades of black and white, they obvisouly can’t help looking majestic when gliding effortlessly, checking out how things stand in their hood.
One thing my recent bird encounters have in common is, they always come by surprise, out of the blue/white. I was driving home from work the other week and stopped on the Black Isle to take a few photos. A big bank of fog had built up along the firth, sitting half across the Cromarty Bridge, the far end dissolved in grey.
What I could not photograph or foresee (of could have photographed if magically, ornithologically, I had foreseen it) was the swarm of hundreds of little black birds that came shooting from under the bride and straight up next to the open car window on the passenger side. At 30 miles an hour twice as long a show, but over in seconds. I did stop and turn at the next junction to cross the bride again, this time with a dashcam recording, but nothing. Meeting expectations is not in their rule book, fair enough.