I spent time out Cockerham way today, much of it taking in the spectacular sight and sounds of the grey geese and Whooper Swans, with another huge count of swans and this time many thousands of Pink-footed Geese. The count today - 11,000 Pink-footed Goose, 570 Whooper Swans and 15 Greylag Goose.
They were packed tight today, the large, heavy, quarrelsome and hyperactive Whooper Swans to the fore and the slow, purposeful, marching, feeding grey geese to the rear. The main action centred upon the previously soggy depression in the peaty-black field, the dip in the ground a minor landscape feature which now before our very eyes changes to a sizeable pond, to later bear a passing resemblance to a muddy lagoon.
Pink-footed Goose and Whooper Swan
Every so often a noisy farm vehicle would pass by, a prompt to quieten the swans, causing a number to stop feeding and check everything was OK, always leaving others to continue feeding; there are always enough lookouts to ensure a quick escape if needs be; a tried and trusted system of some millennia.
If the swans are sensibly wary the geese are impossibly fearful; anxious and permanently on edge, hardly daring to relax and feed, the same transitory farm vehicles sending the birds off in waves of panicky flight to further away.
After such noteworthy spectacles the mundane birds of Cockerham Moss are something of an anti-climax: 30 Chaffinch, 10+ Tree Sparrow, 6 Redwing, 4 Skylark, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Kestrel, 1 Little Egret, 1200 Starlings.
Plenty of waders on the fields at the Gulf Lane end - 240 Curlew, 330 Lapwing and 40 + Redshank.