Pink-footed geese are gathered at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve in near record numbers.
A total of 84,400 geese were counted at the reserve on Monday. The highest number, an estimated 90,000 geese, was recorded in October 2016.
This count comes ahead of the Icelandic-breeding Goose Census, a coordinated national survey across several locations led by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trus, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday.
Pink-footed geese pass through the reserve on their long migration from Iceland and Greenland to wintering sites in England. They roost on the Basin overnight, and disperse into surrounding farmland to feed during the day.
Anna Cowie, the Trust’s Montrose Basin Ranger said: “Having so many pink-footed geese on the Basin shows that we are providing a safe resting place for them after a long journey over the sea. They are also reliant on good breeding grounds in Greenland and Iceland, as well as suitable wintering sites in England. This demonstrates the importance of maintaining healthy habitats in several countries for migrating birds.
“It’s hard to describe the noise of the geese on the Basin when they are gathered in such high numbers. They are a fantastic wildlife spectacle and it’s always a little bit sad when they leave. They have arrived relatively early this year so we’d expect that their numbers will start to tail off in the next few weeks.
“Even after the geese head south there will still be plenty of birdlife to see on the reserve, from large numbers of wintering shelduck and wigeon to the resident kingfisher which is being spotted regularly from the visitor centre.”
Our Montrose Basin Visitor Centre is currently open from Thursday – Monday, 10:30am – 5pm. Booking is essential.