Number of geese at Montrose Basin could beat 2014 record

Thousands of pink-footed geese flock to Montrose every year
Thousands of pink-footed geese flock to Montrose every year

Montrose Basin is hoping another record-breaking number pink-footed geese will flock to the town again this year.

Last year, a staggering 78,970 geese were recorded, beating the previous record of 65,060 set in 2010.

On average, 60,000 pink-footed geese descend on Montrose Basin each year, where they spend the winter months after making a colossal 1,200km migration from Greenland and Iceland.

Emma Castle-Smith, assistant visitor centre manager at Montrose Basin, said: “At the moment we are up to 56,637 geese but we are hoping this could be another record-breaking year at Montrose Basin.

“Seeing these amazing birds en masse is breath-taking for anyone lucky enough to witness it. This is not just something for diehard wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy because it is absolutely stunning to see. The Scottish Wildlife Trust would urge people to come to Montrose Basin Visitor Centre to see this spectacle while the geese are in such high numbers.”

Around 372,000 pink-footed geese spend the winter in the UK, roughly 90 per cent of the world’s population.

This Sunday, as part of the Icelandic Breeding Goose Census which aims to count all of the geese in the UK, the team at Montrose will submit their latest count. These counts are undertaken in the early hours of the morning by Montrose Basin Ranger, Anna Cheshier, and a group of dedicated volunteers.

A special event, People’s Postcode Lottery Goose Breakfast, was held on Sunday 4 October giving visitors a chance to get closer to the action. During this fantastic event, longstanding Scottish Wildlife Trust Volunteer, Harry Bickerstaff, managed to capture some stunning images of the pink-footed geese.

Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, Clara Govier, said: “We are delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting these wonderful events, and that we are able to witness such an incredible number of geese this year.”

There are plenty of opportunities for members of the public to see the birds, although dawn is the optimum viewing time.