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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Migrating geese in Kashiwa

柏市での雁

Watch wild geese flying in formation over the skies of Kashiwa city

Tokyo University campus, Kashiwa.

I was out at the Kashiwa campus of Tokyo University this afternoon. Just before class I was sitting outside eating a snack when I was alerted by a massive squawking and cawing to great black ribbons of birds wheeling through the evening sky.

I don't recall ever having seen anything like it: hundreds of birds flying in a V formation that kept changing shape at great speed while retaining its integrity. It was amazing how instantly the whole or parts of the formation would change shape and/or speed without the slightest falling away of any one bird.

The word for goose in Japanese that most people with some mastery of the language know is 'gacho', but a colleague I recounted the experience to minutes later corrected me. 'Gacho' refers to a farm-type goose. Wild geese of the kind I saw are called 'gan'.

Unfortunately the trees get in the way a bit, but pay careful attention to the shape of the formation at the very end of the video. The way the formation unfurls like th e end of a whip in slow motion is amazing.

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