The Trust, can announce a record breaking number of pink-footed geese at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve following an official count on Sunday.
As part of the Icelandic Breeding Goose Census, which aims to count all of the geese in the UK, the team of dedicated volunteers at Montrose Basin, led by Montrose Basin Ranger, Anna Cheshier recorded a staggering 85,632.
On average, 60,000 pink-footed geese descend on Montrose Basin each year, after making a colossal 1,200km migration from Iceland. In 2014, a record 78,970 geese arrived at Montrose Basin, beating the previous record of 65,060 set in 2010. Last year’s Icelandic Breeding Goose Count estimated the pink-footed geese population to be 393,170 – 90% of which were recorded in the UK. Currently, nearly 25% of all the pink-footed geese in the UK are at Montrose Basin.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust Assistant Visitor Centre Manager at Montrose Basin, Emma Castle-Smith, said: “Beating last year’s record at this point in the season is amazing and the numbers could still be increasing. What this also tells us is that the Scottish Wildlife Trust Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve is a great habitat for wintering pink-footed geese.
“Seeing these amazing birds en masse is breath-taking for anyone lucky enough to witness it and we strongly urge people to make a visit to Montrose Basin. This is not just something for diehard wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy because it is absolutely stunning to see.”
There are plenty of opportunities for members of the public to see the birds. Until the end of October, Montrose Basin Visitor Centre is open daily from 10.30am to 5pm. Winter hours begin on 1 November until 28 February when the centre is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10.30 am – 4pm.