Wild Goose Chase

Spurred on by the bright start to the day I spent a late lunch hour today trying to figure out what the pink-footed geese get up to during the day.

Today's clear but crisp start to the day seemed to have a few geese up and moving in a similar fashion to when they first arrived in September. That is moving over my house in Billinge.

A quick scout of the fields around Fir Tree Farm and Kings Moss didn't produce any grounded geese but it wasn't long before they're distinctive call could be heard - wink wink!

Several skeins totalling about 400 headed toward Crank and then up over the high ground of Moss Bank/Crank Caverns. And ghats when it got interesting ......

From a distance the geese seemed to settle behind the high ground perhaps on an unknown wet field full of carrots or spuds?

I headed over that way and found to my bemusement that there was a good looking field there but no geese - the plot thickened???

I could however hear some wink-winking which seemed to be coming from the direction of Rainford Hall/Fairfield Hospital but there was a bank of trees in the way ... Typical!

Frantically trying to figure out how to get a better view I decide that the best bet may be to look for access via Moss Bank perhaps Cherry Tree Lane.

At this point I realised that the calls I could hear we're not coming from the ground but the air in the distance, so much for my hearing. It looked as though I was too late and something had spooked the geese and they were off.

Just then there was a a distant call of wink-wink from a different direction so I decide to stay to see where this new skein would land.

But land they did not .....

Every now and then someone tells you something about birds and you won't quite believe it until you actually see it happen.

This new skein which bare in mind came from the direction of Skelmersdale, met up with the others that I thought were previously grounded and then headed of in the direction of the Rainford mosslands.

A bit odd I thought at first but then thought a big deeper. The hill at Crank at 90m is quite a landmark easily seen from all directions.

I stayed a little longer as I could see that the sun was setting and knew this vantage point afforded good views and I could see geese moving to the north and west.

I heard a grey partridge call whilst a couple of mistle thrushes fought over a holly tree and its rich red berry reward.

It soon became apparent that this landmark was just that as small skeins of 30 to 120 geese headed for it like a beacon from all different directions before "meeting up" and changing direction to go to roost on the rainford mosslands.

I wonder how often that happens?

Nature truly is Amazing.

Paul B


  1. Interesting observation. A month or more ago I saw a large flock of Pinkies in a field behind Kings Moss Farm. More recently there were a couple of small groups near Holiday Moss landfill site.

  2. Hi Dave,
    I spoke to the guy at Fir Tree Farm and he says that the geese are quite regularly on the fields around there in the past few years but this year numbers have been lower because of the crop.

    Large numbers seem to come from the Skem area, I'll pin those down one day too!

    Paul B

  3. Downholland and Plex Moss usually hold large numbers , and I've often seen them alongside the East Lancs road around Knowsley.