“The noise!” commented Anna Cheshier, a Scottish Wildlife Trust Ranger, when she reported yet another record breaking count of Pink-footed Geese for Montrose Basin. Anna and her team of volunteers recorded a staggering 85,632 birds leaving the roost during their October Icelandic-breeding Goose Census (IGC) count. This breaks the previous record set just last year when a count of 78,970 was recorded, which, at the time, was not only a record for Montrose Basin but also the highest IGC count ever recorded at a single site.
From further south in the Scottish Borders, Allan Brown reported a count of 82,750 Pinkfeet made at West Water Reservoir, almost 65,000 more birds than were recorded there during the October 2014 count and the highest IGC count recorded for the site to date.
Across the border, a coordinated effort by the Lancashire counters produced a whopping record of 93,700 Pinkfeet using the county’s roosts; compared with just over 65,000 recorded there in 2014. Large counts included 32,290 at WWT Martin Mere counted by Tom Clare, 20,000 reported at RSPB Marshside by Kim Ashton and team, and 19,109 at Taylor’s Bank / Alt Estuary seen by David Mallett.
Further news also arrived from eastern England when Graham Catley got in touch to let us know that record numbers of Pinkfeet had been counted on the Humber, with 19,000 birds recorded over the October count weekend, compared with just under 15,000 in 2014.
With last years’ population estimate for Pink-footed Goose standing at 393,170 and with what looks to have been a reasonable breeding season in 2015, will we see the population top 400,000 birds for the first time since records began? Only time will tell and we look forward to finding out.
As always, a big thank you goes out to all counters who took part in the October count. Counters are reminded that IGC counts can now be entered online by visiting www.monitoring.wwt.org.uk/recording and that the next coordinated count will take place on the 14/15 November 2015.
Are you on Twitter? Let us know how you get on with your IGC counts by searching for us @WWTConservation or by using the hashtag #GSMP. We would love to hear from you!