Eyes to the skies as pink-footed friends fly in to Montrose

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Pink-footed geese in Montrose

An advance party has arrived ahead of the annual avian invasion that marks one of the most spectacular sights on the Angus wildlife calendar.

Around 300 pink-footed geese have been recorded at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Montrose Basin reserve – with tens of thousands of their brethren due to touch down within the next few weeks.

The birds are the first tranche to arrive from Iceland following an exhausting 1,200 kilometre migration and their numbers have been rising for several years.

Last year an incredible 90,000 geese were recorded on the reserve.

SWT ranger Anna Cheshier said: “Now that the first few hundred pink-footed geese have arrived we’d expect them to come in very quickly, with numbers peaking in mid-October.

“Montrose Basin is internationally important for these birds.

“Around one-fifth of the world’s population winters or passes through the reserve each year.

“The sight and sound of them gathering in large numbers on the basin is a real herald of autumn – I’d encourage people to come and see them for themselves over the coming weeks.”

People’s Postcode Lottery cash support is helping SWT stage special events next month to help members of the public learn more about the species.

The visitor centre will be open daily this month and next, offering a unique window on to the basin and its other winter visitors, including golden plover, eider duck and wigeon.

Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Our players will be proud that their support is helping the Scottish Wildlife Trust educate the public about these special birds, as well as the importance of conserving their vital wetland habitat.”

A limited number of tickets are also available for a breakfast event on Sunday October 8 and A Gabble About Geese talk by Anna Cheshier on Friday 22 October, bookable at www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/events.