Saturday, 17 November 2012

Wild Geese of Martin Mere

Last night when skies were still,
Slept, sunk in deepmost night,
Beneath the sinking moon
The wild geese passed in flight.

 Martin Mere D300s X14  10-11-2012 12-24-47

Their whirring, beating wings
Flow southward through the dark,
Deep stillness after them
Only the soul might mark.

Martin Mere D300s X14  10-11-2012 12-26-045 

The changing of the year,
The coming breath of cold,
Along the Grampian slopes
The birches will be gold.

Martin Mere D300s X14  10-11-2012 12-24-55 

Snow upon Eskdalemuir
And, where wild pigeons brood,
The aspens all in flame
Fringing the Ord Bain wood

 Martin Mere D300s X14  10-11-2012 12-46-37

Will burn in scarlet leaves.
The clearing glows at night,
Cairngorm is crowned with snow,
The whirring wild geese flight

 Martin Mere D800  10-11-2012 14-31-38

Went by in solitude
'Neath a low orange moon.
The summer hush has gone,
The wind will change its tune.

 Martin Mere D800  10-11-2012 12-24-30

Heather and birch and pine,
Three wild and lovely things,
And all the taste of them
Swift on those passing wings.

Martin Mere D3100  10-11-2012 15-17-30

~M.C. Adamson, The Wild Geese~

This was our second trip to Martin Mere WWT. It was just too far for us to go to as often as we liked and our annual trip was truly one of our guilty pleasures. We got up early to make the 3+ hours journey up north. We made certain that we were not driving on the tol road which we accidently went on last year.

As soon as we parked the car, we were greeted with flocks upon flocks of geese flying overhead in their v-formation. My heart was bursting and I was grinning from ear-to-ear. It moved my heart in a vey special way. I felt very sorry for this adorable wagtail who felt left out when we kept our cameras pointing overhead. Martin Mere D3100  10-11-2012 12-07-04As we walked towards the hides, our senses were assaulted with the sound of thousands of honking, whooping, yelping, trumpeting and quacking. This was even before we saw them. When we walked past the In Focus shop, a few photographers rushed out of the hide shouting Common Crane, Common Crane. We looked up and there it was, the third sighting so far of the year. Wow what a start. Unfortunately, it didn’t land and flushed up thousands of Pink Feet as it went. We were rewarded with the sight and sound of a major feathered flypast.Martin Mere D300s X14  10-11-2012 12-20-049

We managed to get a seat in the nearly-full Swan Link Hide. When we looked out, the lake was heaving with wildfowl and waders.  Among the 5k Pink-footed geese, 1.5k Whooper swans, 1k Lapwings, we spotted hundreds of Shelducks, Mute swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, Wigeons, Pintails, Moorhens, Greylags, Teals, Pochards, Goldeneyes, Galdwalls and Tufted ducks. We just don’t know where to point the camera. But this adorable Ruff caught our attention.Martin Mere D300s X14  10-11-2012 14-25-39Since the feeding time was at 3 pm, we took the opportunity to check out the waterfowl gardens. Since most of the inhabitants were identical to the ones in Slimbridge, we wanted to see the ones that we’d not seen before. The inhabitants were much more tame and you can get very close to them. Expect for this Bufflehead ducks which were hidden under the shrubs.Martin Mere D800  10-11-2012 13-24-54We also checked out this adorable family of Asian short-clawed otters. Their enclosure was in the oriental area of the wildlife gardens and had been carefully designed both on land and in the water to allow the otters to express their natural behaviour. It included areas for digging, grooming, climbing, foraging, bathing, swimming, resting and sleeping. We stood on top of the enclosure watching them interacting among themselves. They were a joy to watch.Martin Mere D3100  10-11-2012 13-40-45We made our way back to the Swan Link Hide early to get the best seat in the house. We’d cheese and onion pasties for lunch while waiting for show-time. Meanwhile, squadrons of Pink-footed geese were filling the sky, their bellies full from a day’s foraging, coming to the lakes to roost. They wheel around swarming in unison, the sky got darker and darker and slowly, they dropped down by the mudbanks. As the sky faded, the noise became deafening. Martin Mere D800  10-11-2012 15-02-022 Then the party started. We could see the wildfowl swimming closer and closer towards the bank. And at exactly 3 pm, the cacophony began as thousands honk, clamour, jostled and pushed forward as scoops of seeds were thrown by the warden. It was spectacular and simply an unforgetable experience to see them this close. Martin Mere D3100  10-11-2012 15-09-51After a lovely day, it was time to head home. Overhead, more and more geese were flying in to roost. We could hear the deafening noise from the car-park. We wished them Bonn nuit and hoped to see them again next year, same time, same place, Insyallah. Martin Mere D3100  10-11-2012 12-14-044

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