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Scotland’s spectacular geese migration under way

16/09/2011 19:02:51

Scottish equivalent of wildebeest migration in Africa

September 2011: The first of tens of thousands of wintering geese have started to arrive back in Scotland as part of their annual migration. More than 1,000 pink-footed geese were recorded at RSPB Scotland's Loch of Strathbeg nature reserve in Aberdeenshire so far.

AWESOME SIGHT: Pink-footed geese in flight at
dawn. Picture: RSPB

In recent years the reserve has acted as a night-time roost for one of the biggest flocks in the UK , with up to 70,000 geese touching down. Often described as Scotland 's equivalent of the wildebeest migration in Africa, every year hundreds of thousands of geese stop off in the UK as they migrate from their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle.

Numbers reach their peak next month
In Scotland the most commonly sighted species are the pink-footed goose, greylag goose and barnacle goose. Numbers usually reach their peak in October but smaller flocks can be spotted at lochs and estuaries right through until March.

Louise Smith of RSPB said: ‘It's always an exciting time when the geese return, not only does the reserve burst with activity again but it also provides visitors with a chance to see one of Scotland 's most stunning winter spectacles. The sight of tens of thousands of geese lifting off as one is a truly magical experience.'

Over the next few months, the geese will feed and rest on the reserve before continuing on their passage south. During that time, the RSPB will conduct regular counts to monitor the population.

RSPB reserves at 
Vane Farm and 
Loch Gruinart are also well known goose ‘hotspots' with thousands of geese arriving throughout the autumn. For more information, visit

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