Record number of geese flock to Montrose Basin

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A record number of pink-footed geese flocked to Montrose Basin this year.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust, announced on Monday that the record-breaking number of pink-footed geese at Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve has smashed th-e current record which was set last week.

Only a few days ago, 70,153 geese were recorded at the Basin, beating the previous record of 65,060 set in 2010, but the number has now risen 
to 78,970.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve manager for the North East, Rab Potter, said: “The number of pink-footed geese at Montrose Basin this year has taken all of us by surprise. Currently, pink-footed geese outnumber people in Montrose by almost seven to one.

“The Scottish Wildlife Trust would recommend that anyone who has yet to see – and hear - the pink-footed geese do so as soon as possible. At the moment, there are pink-footed geese on Montrose Basin at all times of---- the day, which is a great opportunity for visitors, but it is very difficult to know how long they will stay in these numbers.“

The latest count, which took place on Sunday (October 19), was part of the Icelandic-breeding Goose Census, a coordinated effort to assess the number of pink-footed geese and Icelandic greylag geese in the world.

During this survey, pink-footed geese counts are undertaken at over 120 sites across the UK, Ireland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. The results will published in the springtime.

Ten volunteers took part in this latest count, ensuring the accuracy of the numbers.

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

Around 372,000 pink-footed geese spend the winter in the UK, which is thought to be around 90 per cent of the world’s population.

Regional Visitor Centre manager for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Caroline Hendry, said: “The news that there are more than 70,000 geese at Montrose Basin is truly exceptional.

“Seeing these amazing creatures en masse is breathtaking for anyone lucky enough to witness it. This is not just something for diehard wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy because it is absolutely breathtaking to see.

“The Scottish Wildlife Trust would urge people to come to Montrose Basin Visitor Centre before the geese leave.”

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

Until the end of October, the visitor centre is open daily 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A special event, the People’s Postcode Lottery Goose Breakfast, is being held this coming Sunday (October 26), from 6.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. and gives visitors a chance to get closer to the action.

Caroline said: ”This is Montrose Basin’s most spectacular event of the year. It is a brilliant opportunity to find out more about the behaviour of the geese from our team of experts and volunteers.”

After seeing the geese, visitors will be brought back to the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre for breakfast and refreshments.

Booking is essential for this popular event, to book or for more details, please contact Emma Castle-Smith on ecastle-smith@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk or call 01674 676336.