The geese have arrived, so now winter can begin in earnest. It was fine to hear them tinkling overhead in September and October as the big skeins came thundering down from the far north, and the sound of pinkfeet arriving is a sure sign of changing seasons.
The new arrivals are already settling into a steady rhythm, which carries them inland from the shore at dawn. Bigger flights of migrant birds continue to pass high overhead to their winterings in Norfolk or Lancashire, and it can make for a confusing spectacle at dawn or dusk. Soon the winter arrangements will be complete and you will be able to set your watch by the birds as they come in from the sea in a mass of chattering skeins. The process will be repeated shortly before dark each evening when the woodcock and snipe begin to flit around in the gloom before the night shift begins.
A handful of enthusiastic foreshore gunners soon teach these early arrivals to be careful when they make landfall. Many of the newcomers will fall during dawn flights in September under conditions that make goose flighting seem positively easy. Most of the casualties are usually fat, jabbering greylags or Canada geese that live all year round within sight of the sea, but inexperienced pinkfeet frequently get their fingers burned.
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