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In the autumn of 2018 Stephen Rutt and his partner moved to a house near the Solway Firth in Dumfries. As they settled into their new home thousands of pink-footed geese were arriving on the Firth from the Arctic Circle to make it their winter home. The arrival of huge flocks of geese in the UK is one of the most evocative and powerful harbingers of winter; a vast natural phenomenon to capture the imagination.
And so begins an extraordinary odyssey. From his new home in the north to further afield in wide open spaces of the south, Stephen traces the lives and habits of five of the most common species of goose in the UK. With an expert eye and clear, elegant prose he paints precise portraits of these large, startling, garrulous and cooperative birds.
But this is also a compact and beautifully written study of the place the goose has in our culture, our history and, occasionally, on our festive table. A vivid tour of the inbetween landscapes they inhabit and a celebration of the short days, varied weathers and long nights of the season during which we share our home with these birds.
Stephen Rutt is a birder, freelance nature writer and book reviewer whose work has appeared in Earthlines Magazine, Zoomorphic, The Harrier, Surfbirds, BirdGuides and The East Anglian Daily Times. His first book, the award-winning The Seafarers, was born during the seven months he spent at the bird observatory on North Ronaldsay in the Orkneys. He lives in Dumfries.
"This is not a long book, but its conciseness is its strength. By the end, you have spent time with each of our native wintering geese species, but a short enough period to be left with the essence of each. [...]"
– Teresa Frost, BTO book reviews