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10 October, 2014

Pink-footed geese return to Loch Leven

Two free goose walks to see the amazing spectacle of the return of the pink-footed geese to Loch Leven national nature reserve take place this month.

The two Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) guided walks take place at dawn on Saturday, 18 October, and at dusk on Thursday, October 23.

The stars of Loch Leven have returned this month after another year of breeding in Iceland. The premier wildlife spectacle that attracted the BBC Autumnwatch team here in 2012 takes place every year, with numbers building throughout October. The geese quickly establish a daily feeding routine, moving from the loch to nearby fields each morning. Their evening return to the loch is equally spectacular, with large numbers moving in unison back toward their evening roost sites, giving two chances a day to witness their immense gatherings in flight, and the cacophony of noise they create as they call to their kin.

Craig Nisbet, Loch Leven reserve officer, said:

“Every year we are reminded how lucky we are to have such a spectacle on our doorstep, and we’re always keen for people to share it with us. Both the dawn and dusk walks will give you a chance to walk down to the loch shore with us and see the geese at their most spectacular, as well as see the many types of migratory ducks and large gatherings of both mute and whooper swans.”

In a recent Icelandic-breeding Goose Census collated by Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, pink-footed goose numbers had increased by almost a third to 359,000. This is welcome news after a significant dip in numbers between 2010 and 2011. After a long migration, the geese are very hungry, and at this time of year there is plenty of spilt grain from harvested fields to keep them busy. An early count on 3 October found that about 8800 geese are already roosting on the loch shore – a good count for this early in the season – although this number will probably at least double for our peak count.

Both events are free and open to all, but booking is essential as space is limited, so call the reserve office on 01577 864439 to book a place.

Walking boots, waterproofs and any binoculars are recommended. The Dawn Goose Walk takes place on Saturday, 18 October from 6.30-8.30am, meeting at the Kirkgate watchtower in Kirkgate Park, Kinross. The Pink Sunset Walk is scheduled for Thursday, 23 October from 4.30-6.30pm, meeting at Loch Leven’s Larder car park on the opposite side of the loch.

For up-to-date news and information on geese and other goings on at Loch Leven NNR, visit www.lochlevennnr.wordpress.com . By clicking the ‘Follow’ button, you’ll receive blog update emails each time they’re published.

Loch Leven is Scotland’s largest lowland loch and one of the most important sites for waterfowl in Britain. Its unique environment attracts not only the largest concentration of breeding ducks anywhere in the UK, but also many thousands of migratory ducks, geese and swans every autumn and winter, as well as boasting an interesting variety of wildlife, plants and trees.

MEDIA QUERIES
- For more information, contact SNH press & public relations officer for Scottish Natural Heritage, Vicki Mowat on 0131 316 2659 or vicki.mowat@snh.gov.uk (Tues-Fri), or the main SNH press office on 01463 725 022 (Mon).

Notes to editors

Loch Leven National Nature Reserve is one of about 50 NNRs in Scotland. NNRs are special places that look after some of the best of Scotland’s nature on behalf of everyone who lives or visits Scotland, and they provide unique opportunities to visit, enjoy and learn more about Scotland’s nature. For more information, see www.nnr-scotland.org.uk.

Contact information

Name
SNH Media
Email
snhmedia@snh.gov.uk

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. So that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nature_scot

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Loch Leven: pink-footed geese at sunset

Loch Leven: pink-footed geese at sunset

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