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A sunrise soundscape

I’ve just done a grey goose count which is basically where I go out and count all the pink-footed and greylag geese that come over my section of the merse. It’s another early start so I got into position at 6:45am but it turned into a really exceptional morning.

Oh and there’s a Sparrowhawk flying past me as I write this.

Pfft… wow.

That’s left me totally speechless.

But let me start at the beginning.

When I first get out there at this time in the morning it is pitch black and I am experiencing the world through my ears.

I hear snipe, curlew, lapwing... Even though the sun isn’t up yet, the world is alive.

The sun begins to edge its way into the sky, turning it slowly yellowy. A flock of golden plover swoop around at the top end of the merse and as they move through the air, I can hear them like a wave.

The pink-footed geese start flying over. And then at about 7:45am, 4500 barnacle geese take off all the way down on the mudflats all at once. The sound hits me, their honking filling my ears.

One of my favourite things about being up at this time of day and working at a place like Caerlaverock is having the opportunity to experience this at first hand on a regular basis. Watching them all calling and flying, that number of birds together is mesmerising.

As I finish up my goose count, the sky is almost completely light now. I get on my scope to see what else is out there. Quickly, I find a male hen harrier eating something. And then a perfect view of a merlin sitting on top of a branch.

Merlin small.jpgA merlin sat on a branch (taken through a scope) by Jake Goodwin

An excellent morning over all. And it’s not just something for we who work here: you can join us on a Dawn Flight and experience the magic of an early morning at Caerlaverock for yourself.


Words by Jake Goodwin

Feature image of the sunrise over the saltmarsh by Marianne Nicholson


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