Pinkfeet return to Montrose

A pink-footed goose
A pink-footed goose

The first of tens of thousands of pink-footed geese have touched down at Montrose Basin at the end of a gruelling migration.

A dawn count this morning (Tuesday, September 20) estimated around 1,075 ‘pinkfeet’ at Montrose Basin - an important haven for the birds who make an annual 1,200 km journey south from Iceland and Greenland to the UK.

Numbers are expected to increase steadily and reach their peak in October.

In 2015, a record 85,632 geese were counted at the reserve.

Scottish Wildlife Trust Ranger Anna Cheshier said: “The reserve is internationally important for pink-footed geese, around one in five of the world population winters here.

“The sight of tens of thousands of geese taking off and landing en masse is one of Scotland’s natural wonders, and our visitor centre offers people some of the best close-up views of these incredible birds in the UK.

“Numbers have risen steadily over the last few years, so another record count is possible next month.”

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Scottish Wildlife Trust is holding three special events to help members of the public learn more about the birds.

The Trust is hosting a People’s Postcode Lottery goose breakfast event on Sunday, October 9 to see the geese take off from the Basin, as well as two pink sunset events on Sunday 16 and 23 October to see them return to roost from nearby fields.

Anna added: “A great way to find out more about the geese is by coming along to our People’s Postcode Lottery Goose breakfast and pink sunset events.

“These events are always very popular, and thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery we can help people experience one of Scotland’s most exciting natural spectacles.”

Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Montrose Basin reserve is a haven for wintering birds and people will be excited to hear that the pink-footed geese are back for another season.

“We’re really pleased that players support is helping the Scottish Wildlife Trust educate the public about these special birds, as well as the importance of conserving their wetland habitat.”

Booking is essential for all three events, which include either breakfast or hot soup and a roll.

There are plenty of opportunities for members of the public to see the birds at Montrose Basin Reserve.

The hides and walks on the reserve are open 24 hours a day throughout the year with the best chance to see geese at dawn and dusk.

The visitor centre is open daily from 10.30am to 5pm, until Tuesday, November 1 when it is open Friday to Monday 10.30am to 4pm.