Saturday, December 29, 2007

a shedload of geese.

I'm not sure why but for some reason until relatively recently (the last couple of years or so) I was kind of oblivious to the fact that every winter a motherlode of geese descend upon the east coast of England (where I lived for 18 years and my parents live to this day) to feed. As you may have guessed from the photo below I did check them out this year and it was breathtakingly remarkable.


See it full size here. Its worth a look to get the full effect.

Just to prove they are geese (Brents specifically) here's a 60X closeup.


Going off on a tangent somewhat I've been pondering a lot about sustainable food systems recently (check out The Slow Cook, Ethicurean and One Straw Revolution blogs for a primer on food issues and nature-mimicing food production systems) and where wildlife fits into all this. I see nature and food production/harvesting as closely linked today but seeing all these geese made me think back to what my ancestors must have felt seeing the same thing. A few thousand (heck even a few hundred) years ago in the marginally agricultural fenland - bleak, wet and flat and blasted by siberian winds - with fish, crops and berries starting to run short for the year a few thousand geese dropping in to feed must have seemed like a gift from heaven.

Yep, they would've known about the geese without reading about it on Birdforum. They would've had to. I guess we should all count our lucky stars we can afford to take a purely recreational interest in birds and nature....we probably shouldn't ever take a purely recreational interest in how we feed ourselves though.

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