The latest Icelandic Goose Count (IGC) was carried out on the 10th of November, with 20,804 Pink Footed Geese counted. This number is down on the 31,180 counted on the 11th of November last year, but reflects overall reduction in Geese on the reserve compared to the last few years. We would expect the majority of these individuals to stay at the Basin over winter, although some may still move further South. The final IGC on the 8th of December will, however, be a better indicator of this.
Other sightings on the reserve over the past few weeks have include a Velvet Scoter on the 3rd of November, spotted in the middle of the Basin at high tide. We were able to distinguish it from a Common Scoter, due to the white patch on the rear of its wing, which was distinguishable as it swam on the surface (for more information on identifying Scoters see blog 31st August). The Kingfisher was seen at its usual fishing perch on the 13th of November, although sightings have become less regular so far this month. Our first Waxwing of the winter was seen in front of the centre on the 24th of October. Other sightings have included 360 Knot on the 10th, 10 Little Grebes on the 5th and 4 or more Greenshank counted on numerous occasions through the month.
Maxima from Octobers WeBS include 4287 Wigeon, 1628 Shelduck, 1537 Eider, 1370 Redshank, 1252 Oystercatcher, 1200 Curlew, 884 Lapwing and 263 Dunlin. Less common species included 4 Ruff and 2 Barnacle Geese.
Interesting sightings in the local area have included a Slavonian Grebe, seen on the 9th and 11th of this month at Loch of Lintrathen reserve, which also hosted a White Tailed Eagle earlier in the week. The eagle had a red wing tag, indicating a 2011 release, therefore excluding the possibility that it was the same one seen here 2 weeks ago (which had a yellow tag). It could, however, have been the same individual, ‘Red E’ that was seen on the Basin in February. Elsewhere around the county there has been a Red Crested Pochard at Forfar Loch a Grey Phalarope seen both in Arbroath on the 12th and Carnoustie on the 14th.
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.