80,000 pink-footed geese arrive in the UK

More than 80,000 pink-footed geese have made their annual journey to the UK from Iceland.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 9:37 pm
Pink-footed geese at Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve
Pink-footed geese at Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve

The geese make the 1,200 kilometres migration from Iceland to the UK for winter every year, stopping off at the Montrose Basin in Angus before heading to England.

They roost on the basin overnight and disperse into surrounding farmland to feed during the day.

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Scottish Wildlife officers have so far counted 84,0000 - just 6,000 off the record 90,000 which were found there in October 2019.

Experts said the wildlife spectacle happened earlier than normal this year, and expect the number of birds arriving to tail off in the next few weeks.

Anna Cowie, Montrose Basin Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: "Having so many pink-footed geese on the Basin shows that we are providing a safe resting place for them after

a long journey over the sea.

"They are also reliant on good breeding grounds in Greenland and Iceland, as well as suitable wintering sites in England.

"This demonstrates the importance of maintaining healthy habitats in several countries for migrating birds.

"It's hard to describe the noise of the geese on the Basin when they are gathered in such high numbers.

"They are a fantastic wildlife spectacle and it's always a little bit sad when they leave.

"They have arrived relatively early this year so we'd expect that their numbers will start to tail off in the next few weeks.

"Even after the geese head south there will still be plenty of birdlife to see on the reserve, from large numbers of wintering shelduck and wigeon to the resident kingfisher which is

being spotted regularly from the visitor centre."

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