The Meaning of Geese: A Thousand Miles in Search of Home

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The Meaning of Geese: A Thousand Miles in Search of Home

The Meaning of Geese: A Thousand Miles in Search of Home

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Add Acheson’s reflections on a changing environment and his fleeting interactions with like-minded bird lovers and The Meaning of Geese is mournful and magisterial. He then explains how during COVID he decided to follow Norfolk’s geese on his bike over the 2020-2021 winter. He meticulously details the geese's arrival, observing what they mean to his beloved Norfolk and the role they play in local people's lives—and what role the birds could play in our changing world. In their flocks, Nick encountered rarer geese, including Russian white-fronts, barnacle geese, and an extremely unusual grey-bellied brant, a bird he had dreamt of seeing since thumbing his mother's copy of Peter Scott's field guide as a child. Stuck at home with no work and no people, I got on my mother's 40-year-old bicycle and followed Norfolk's thrilling flocks of pink-footed and brent geese.

Their fluctuations, their vexed taxonomies, the “fractal complexity” of their flocks, their skill at whiffling, in which they perform aeronautical body rolls when coming in to land. For several years he has hosted events discussing conservation, nature writing and the environment at Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves.Unfortunately my only encounter with geese was a clan of Brent's flying over at dusk, but it romanticised my time away. Superbly translated by Jennifer Croft – the description of the quiet, injured man “lying Britishly on the mountain” is wonderful – this book becomes a viewpoint from which we can see the whole world.

Thank you very much to the publisher and NetGalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. He is best known in East Anglia where he makes regular appearances on ITV Anglia, BBC Look East and BBC Radio Norfolk, and presents films for Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Green Light Trust and Pensthorpe.Nick has through his knowledge, passion and detailed descriptions put a winter visit firmly back onto the agenda. Nick has written for BBC Wildlife, British Birds, British Wildlife, The Guardian, The Big Issue, BTO News, The Countryman and numerous other publications. The lovely people at Chelsea Green Publishing sent me an advanced copy and I've been savouring it over the past few weeks. I saw Nick Acheson speak at New Networks for Nature 2021 as the ‘anti-’ voice in a debate on ecotourism. Passionately committed to wildlife since childhood, Nick has worked his entire life in biodiversity and landscape conservation.

I've missed the joy of helping people learn to identify new species and witness our wildest natural spectacles. He meticulously details the geese’s arrival, observing what they mean to his beloved Norfolk and the role they play in local people’s lives – and what role the birds could play in our changing world. The Meaning of Geese is the story of how he found purpose in a seven-month, 1,200 mile cycle journey (the exact length of the pink-footed geese’s migration). Sebastián Martínez Daniell’s Two Sherpas ‘becomes a viewpoint from which we can see the whole world’.

This was indeed to be a low-carbon initiative, undertaken on his mother’s 40-year-old red bicycle and spanning September 2021 to the start of the following spring. Many of us took up hobbies during the lockdowns - reading, gardening, DIY, baking sourdough and banana bread - but for Naturalist Nick Acheson, the pandemic inspired an epic adventure. The pandemic gave Acheson fallow time to mount his rickety bike and scope Norfolk for the “thousands of lives brought here by wind, genes, instinct and the planet’s axial tilt”. In their flocks, Nick encountered rarer geese, including Russian white-fronts, barnacle geese and an extremely unusual grey-bellied brant, a bird he had dreamt of seeing since thumbing his mother’s copy of Peter Scott’s field guide as a child. I'm thrilled to be sharing my native Norfolk (and other sites around the UK) with Wildlife Worldwide clients again.



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  • EAN: 764486781913
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