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The sound of Autumn

October 2, 2011

Enjoying the last of the light in the garden on a rare warm day, we become aware of something. Beyond the reach of conscious hearing, there is a change in the air, a tingling. We pause, our senses alert. The tingling becomes a murmur; it swells, becoming a distinct and many-voiced sound. Geese. A long skein of geese wavers into view over the treetops, passing over the turrets of the castle in their autumn migration.

Their voices bell out into the dusk, filling the sky, setting the dogs racing across the grass, yapping hysterically in vain pursuit. I can understand the dogs’ impulse. The sound of the geese never fails to thrill me too.


You might enjoy a post about other migratory visitors, A glory of swans.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2011 8:32 am

    I subscribe to your posts by email, and – at 6.30 am here, I’ve just opened and am just reading said email with my office window open, the dawn coming up – and a pair of geese that live over on Milford Lake doing a circuit overhead. How extraordinary!Not sure if these particular geese migrate, or stick around all winter, but they have certainly been noisier over the last few days.
    Your photographs are so beautiful – is there anything lovelier than a skein of geese in the sky? Though – I think – also filled with tristesse – ‘Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving….’

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 3, 2011 10:28 am

      What a lovely bitter-sweet song. Thanks for sharing it.
      Even if your geese are resident, I bet they are still stirred up by some old migratory impulse and by the sound of other geese passing over from time to time. Even humans snuff the change in the season and feel the promise of new beginnings at this time of year, after all.

  2. Liz permalink
    October 3, 2011 9:31 am

    And me. The geese around here (Warwickshire) seem to fly past at dawn and dusk. I imagine they are Canada geese, but can’t be certain, and it seems to be the same skein. Magical!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 3, 2011 10:31 am

      I would say it’s a funny coincidence that all three of us have been listening to the geese, but I suppose it just proves what a feature of the season they are!

      I’m a big fan of Warwickshire, by the way. I have several – now largely past, sadly – family connections to your lovely and under-appreciated county, the heartwood of England.

  3. Toffeeapple permalink
    October 3, 2011 10:40 am

    What a glorious sight and sound. I’m getting excited about this change of seasons especially as the heatwave has now abated.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 3, 2011 12:40 pm

      Has it? I must say we didn’t have much of a heatwave here – it was pouring with rain and 12 degrees by Saturday!

  4. October 3, 2011 11:13 am

    “A lang, lang skein o beatin wings wi their heids toward the sea”

    Yet another of Autumn’s pleasures. Only a few geese so far past our way…

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 3, 2011 12:41 pm

      Oh, I love that quote with its steady cadence. Who is it by and where is it from, please?

  5. hmunro permalink
    October 3, 2011 2:32 pm

    Lovely, lovely photos, DB. Our flocks tend to be a bit smaller here in the U.S., but even so I understand your dogs’ desire to pursue them. I keep promising myself that one of these years I actually will follow them south.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 3, 2011 5:09 pm

      This was a pretty large flock: I wonder where they had been before they began their migration. A few years ago I read a book written by someone who actually did follow the geese. It’s a beautifully written work which you might enjoy: ‘The Snow Geese’ by William Fiennes.

  6. Menatra permalink
    October 3, 2011 8:55 pm

    The Canadian Geese have started their migration down into the United States here as well. I have only seen several flocks so far but over the next month there will be flocks flying over every day. We see thousands of them here. Is there Geese Hunting in your country? My brother hunts them here in Ontario. (Most farmers thank him for that too!) The geese become pests sometimes because they tend to stop and stay awhile in this area before it gets really cold and then they head south.

    PS I hope you don’t mind me asking all these questions all the time, I love learning new things so I tend to ask a lot!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 3, 2011 10:28 pm

      I don’t mind the questions at all, if you don’t mind that I can’t always answer them! Goose hunting, or Wildfowling as it’s called in Britain, is a pretty specialist sport in this country. We don’t take part in it here at Castle Beastie. It takes place on treacherous salt marshes and cold muddy estuaries, and I think you have you have to pretty hard core to want to do it. Geese can be a pest for arable farmers when large flocks land on the fields but, as far as I’m aware, nobody would shoot a sitting duck – or even goose – on farmland.

  7. October 4, 2011 2:16 pm

    Oh, I love these days full of geese passing over head, thank you for posting… and It looks like you had quite a gaggle over your way!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 4, 2011 2:56 pm

      I love them too. This was one of the biggest skeins of the year so far!

  8. October 6, 2011 12:51 am

    Great post and pictures.
    The bird migration has started here in TX. We are in a bird sanctuary area. Doves, (thanking everyone for the food and water as the drought and fires destroyed their rest stops) serenaded us a bit before going on. The humming birds swarmed through last week with their merry little tunes. I’m getting up early to go out and listen for geese. They spend the night in the wetlands around this lake, then set out early in the morning – making all sorts of racket as they sort themselves into flying formations for their journey. That early chatter and the crunch of leaves underfoot is the best of cool autumn mornings. Lifts spirits as much as early spring.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 6, 2011 12:44 pm

      Yes, early autumn does ‘lift the spirits as much as early spring’, doesn’t it? Your climate is so extreme compared to Scotland’s, yet we have that in common. That, and the geese. 🙂

  9. October 23, 2011 7:04 pm

    There are Canada geese on the little gravel pit lake behind my mother-in-law’s house in the Cotswolds and I love hearing them at this time of year. We don’t get them where we are in wales, presumably because we’re not near open water. A very evocative sight and sound.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 24, 2011 11:41 pm

      It’s a wonderful sound. We are just back from Skye, where I stood by the sea listening to the curlews call: an even more spine-tingling sound than the geese, though so different.

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