Up to 80,000 pink-footed geese have been counted so far this season at Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve and Visitor Centre.
Volunteers led by Montrose Basin Ranger Anna Cheshier took part in the annual UK-wide Icelandic-breeding Goose Census at first light on Sunday 22 October. They counted a total of 50,309 geese, compared to last year’s return of 42,840.
However, geese are still arriving from Iceland, and rangers estimated their numbers at 80,000 on Monday 23 October.
Anna Cheshier said: “The noise of the geese has been building on the Basin and in the skies over Montrose as more and more birds arrive from the Arctic. Their continued high numbers show that the surrounding farmland is providing plenty of food.
“The number of the geese on the Basin at any one time is highly variable. Most of the geese at Montrose Basin are passing through on their way south. While geese are still arriving here, many have already taken advantage of the recent strong winds to help them move on.”
Pink-footed geese make an annual 1,200km migration from Iceland to the UK. Montrose Basin is one of the first suitable stops for the geese after crossing the North Sea, and tens of thousands of birds use the reserve as a stopping point to rest and refuel before leaving for estuaries in the east of England.
Earlier this month we held our popular People’s Postcode Lottery Goose Breakfast and Pink Sunset events to give people an opportunity to learn more about the birds and see them in large number on the Basin. Both events sold out quickly.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “Our players will be delighted that their support is helping the public to learn about pink-footed geese and understand why wetlands such as Montrose Basin are so important for wildlife.”
Montrose Basin Visitor Centre is open daily from 10.30am to 5pm until the end of October. In November and December opening hours are Friday to Monday, 10.30am – 4pm. Our wildlife hides are open daily, and the best chance to see large number of pink-footed geese coming at dawn and dusk.