Another bird poem

I find I’ve written a lot of poems about birds – I can’t help it. Here’s one from yesterday:


“10,124 Pinkfoot Geese sighted at Aberlady,”
read the note on the whiteboard.
10,124 eh? A big number; a lot
of counting, and so precise.

I picture the counter’s thumb,
swollen and tired from an excess
of clicking, eyes blearing across
the grey-brown flock. “Did I count
that group? Has that goose moved?”

I can’t imagine devotion
on this scale. It’s enough
that I recall walking
in a November dusk
through the buckthorn thicket,
foot before unseen foot
along the muddy path.

Over my head
10,124 Pinkfoot Geese babbled
in the near darkness.
This glorious chorus came and went
in waves, as V after V
whiffled in to land
on the salt flats.

I don’t read anything
into this; it’s a fact, an event
that occurs every evening,
witnessed or not.
I’m just glad to know
these visitors pause here,
their holiday home
in the warm Scottish winter.


I was challenged to put up a photo of myself from my ‘beat’ days, so here it is.
It’s 1962, and this is the clean-shaven 20-year old Colin. I had to shave because
I was working in a variety of bar jobs, and it was expected.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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8 Responses to Another bird poem

  1. BarbaraS says:

    I like this one, especially as it reminds me of Bill Oddie’s wee spot about Twitchers on Autumn Watch there a week or two ago. I love the word, Twitcher, as it suggests that hair-trigger sense of waiting for something that’s important to oneself.

  2. Colin Will says:

    I was with a twitcher a couple of weeks ago, watching geese tilt from side to side to lose height, and he said – that’s called whiffling – so I <>had<> to use it.

  3. BarbaraS says:

    ‘Whiffling’is a gorgeous gift of a word to get from a twitcher… Nice photo, Colin, you’re so cute! Isn’t he Rachel 😉

  4. apprentice says:

    Yes it’s a lovely word and a good poem too – it really captures them.

  5. Crafty Green Poet says:

    good poem, I love seeign the geese at this time of year, never would have the devotion to count so precisely….

  6. shug says:

    Nice poem Colin: there’s something very emotional about the lines of geese coming in in the early evening- we have the same thing here as they go to the Caerlaverock Reserve.My pal used to work for the RSPB and he used to bird count every morning in the Mull of Galloway. When i saw him the answer may have been very precise but the method certainly wasn’t!

  7. swiss says:

    what’s the deal with goose poems? lolhere’s my effort on the same topic

  8. McGuire says:

    Like the poem Colin. A nice observation, a considerate reflection; I have been bird watching since I was a wee boy but I still have time to consider them now and then.In fact, here is my latest bird poem, if you get the chance:’ll be reading you.

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