Montrose’s pink-footed geese arrive early this autumn - Scottish Wildlife Trust

3 Pink-footed geese flying in formation in a blue sky
Pink-foot at Tayock, 3 in flight (Ron Mitchell)

This year, the annual influx of pink-footed geese at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve and Visitor Centre in Angus is earlier than usual.

The birds, who have migrated from Iceland, were first sighted on Tuesday 5 September when a skein of 25 flew over the Visitor Centre that overlooks Montrose Basin – an enclosed estuary of the river South Esk. Reports of ‘pinkies’ in the Angus area were first recorded from Saturday 2 September, usually, the geese are not seen in the Angus area until mid-September. Larger numbers started arriving from Saturday 9 September with 1,500 birds counted on Wednesday 13 September. Their numbers are approximately 25,000 as of 02 October.

Joanna Peaker, Scottish Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre Site Manager, is delighted to see their numbers increasing. She said: “It is surprising that the geese have arrived early this year at the Basin. We often don’t see any until the middle of September. Their early arrival is a delightful surprise; however, we don’t know if they will move on earlier and how they will fare from this early migration from their summer breeding grounds.

“The sonorous sound of up to 85,000 geese landing on the mudflats at sunset is a stunning spectacle. I never tire of hearing the geese every year, especially as their sunset roosting becomes louder as their numbers swell. Usually, mid-October is the best time of year to see the geese at their peak numbers when they return to the Basin every evening to roost. This year it might be earlier!”

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Posted On: 02/10/2023

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