Those of you local to the basin here at Montrose can’t have failed to notice the fantastic spectacle of the Icelandic Geese which winter on the basin. We saw the first skein of pink-footed geese arrive from their Icelandic summer breeding grounds on 11th September and since then, numbers have just soared!!!
Last year the peak count of pinkfoot was an imense 65,050. We have almost reached the same number so far this year with an impressive 63,356 totalled in a dawn roost count on 12th October. We will keep you posted if there is any further developments with the amount of pinkfooted-geese here at the basin.
Each year we take part in the Icelandic-Breeding Goose Census, which means that what we monitor here, contributes to what we know about the status and distribution of Icelandic geese.
Pink footed geese (or pinkfeet) breed in Iceland and Greenland and migrate Great Britain for the winter – some 1200 km. The breeding population has increased dramatically in recent years with a current population of around 300,000 geese. Montrose Basin provides habitat for a large proportion of the population of pinkfeet, offering a safe roosting site. Geese are grazers and will spend the day feeding on stubble, grass, and winter cereals. The sight and sound of the flock of pinkfeet leaving the roosting site to find feeding grounds at dawn or returning for the evening at dusk is truly remarkable. Scottish Wildlife Trust run a ‘Goose Breakfast’ event at Montrose Basin where public are able to see the flocks of geese on the basin, hopefully witness the dawn flight, and then enjoy breakfast at the visitor centre, followed by a presentation by the SWT Montrose Basin Ranger. This event has proved incredibly popular and two dates passed were well attended with the final date fully booked!
So the change in season has brought with it a lot of excitement here at Montrose Basin, and I would thoroughly recommend anyone interested to come to the reserve and witness this awe-inspiring spectacle.
Montrose Basin Ranger