Greylag geese are insane fliers

7:45am, my usual stomp around Manor farm saw me midway along the north embankment, when I heard the honk of flying geese. Glancing westward I spied what I thought was a large flock of Canada geese flying over Fleet Hill farm towards Manor farm. Whilst I have loads of photos of Canada geese in flight, there is always the thought of getting the 'perfect' shot or something unusual to paint.

I had sufficient time to get the old 800d out, pointed in roughly the right direction, and (hoping its autofocus would behave itself) hauled off a few shots.

As the birds crested the line of Oak trees that line Longwater road they broke formation and dove down to the deck. I thought this odd at the time, but was busily tracking the birds.  Canada geese will sometimes fly down low after crossing a treeline, but would do so gracefully, gliding down in formation. These geese, however, went hell for leather down to the deck - say like a fighter squadron scattering when bounced by enemy planes.

When I got home and looked at the photos, zooming in where necessary, I discovered that the geese in question were Greylag geese (bear in mind my dodgy bird recognition skills) and were total nutters when it came to diving down:They flew sideways; They flew upside down; They banked over sharply; They sometimes appeared to fly bum first; They flew back first.  They are loonies!

Half an hour later, whilst walking along the south footpath to do a spot of Blackberrying, I spied another flock of these insane birds. This time, they held formation as they flew high from Fleet Hill farm and then over Manor farm, but when they flew over 'the Ridge' they did this crazy break of formation to dive down and join their buddies in 'Cormorant lake south'.

Here are the photos, starting with the birds just as the leaders passed the treeline and began their decent. There is a Swallow photobombing this shot.

More birds begin to cross the treeline, and start some pretty serious aerobatics to get down low.

Zooming in on a nutty bird. A classic manoeuvre by fighter aircraft to commence a dive.

More birds cross the treeline and all hell breaks loose.

It's just total mayhem now.

I'm sure that bird is flying bum first.

The trailing edge of the flock have crested the treeline. I am approximately 100 yards from all this fray.

These birds are just as lunatic

When the birds reach the deck, they level out to something approaching normal flight.

Sometimes they appear to be flying back first.

The mayhem continues

Even when close to the ground the birds are still flying crazy

What is this nut up to?  Practically on its back.

This one is even more lunatic.

And another one.

They have all more or less achieve level flight.

I say all have more or less as there is always one.

Showing off perhaps?

By now they are definitely all heading in the right direction, and straight and level, flying over what little remains of Finch pond.

I stopped photographing as I expected the birds to fly away. Almost too late did I realise they were beginning to land in the body of water I christened 'Cormorant lake'. My camera was also caught unawares and didn't really know what to focus on.

As I said earlier, I spotted another flock (half the size) behave like this. Unfortunately, I was on the south footpath, mostly hidden by trees, and my fingers were covered in Blackberry juice.  A third, small flock flew over as I made my way back to my car, but I couldn't really see them. I went on the sound of the geese to identify them.

Finally, here are the Blackberries. 6 litres picked in about an hour and a quarter, all from two small patches. I feel this year's crop is better than last year's. They were practically falling off the vines, and there were so many you couldn't see where I had been Blackberrying.

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