One of my favourite events in nature’s calendar is the migration of geese from North to South just before our winter truly begins.
In the past few weeks the murmuring sound of these birds flying overhead has come and gone, as flocks of between 10 and 200 pass over. They’re all heading for somewhere warm to spend the winter months and our rich farmlands and estuaries offer them the perfect opportunity to get away from freezing arctic winters.
The migratory species you are likely to see, and will definitely hear, include Greylag, Brent, Barnacle and Pink-footed geese. They can be seen from around September to March, and migrate from their summer breeding grounds in countries such as Iceland and Greenland.
I find all migratory species of animal fascinating, and to me they symbolise the need to maintain healthy ecosystems not only on a local scale, but regionally and internationally too. These geese show that protecting habitats at home positively affects biodiversity abroad too and I think we should be proud that our environment offers these birds exactly what they need over winter.
The River Clyde with its torrent of white water at Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve isn’t what you would call ideal habitat for geese. However the health of the river here directly affects the health of the river downstream where many geese do choose to winter; so maintaining healthy ecosystems here will have a knock on effect on their winter success.
Some latecomers are still passing over the reserve, so why not come along to Falls of Clyde and try to spot our winter visitors for yourself.
Jenny Mann, Falls of Clyde Assistant Ranger
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