The latest results from the Icelandic-breeding Goose Census show that Pinkfeet have bounced back whilst Greylags have decreased.
The 53rd consecutive annual Icelandic-breeding Goose Census has revealed that the number of Pink-footed Geese bounced back to the levels of 2008 and 2009, following low counts in 2010 and 2011. The population was estimated to be 359,175 birds in October 2012, more than a third greater than the previous year.
In 2012, Pinkfeet started to arrive in the UK in early autumn, with large numbers building up
at a number of key sites, including Montrose Basin where a jaw-dropping 63,844 were counted on the 21st of September. It is thought that unusually heavy snowfalls and wintery conditions in Iceland in early to mid September triggered the early migration south during 2012.
The migratory Icelandic Greylag Geese, however, showed a slight decrease in numbers, to an estimated 104,632 birds in November 2012, down 12.7% on the 2011 estimate. As usual, the majority wintered in Orkney, around half the population. Unusually large numbers, around 16,000 in total, were also found in Caithness.
As always, our thanks go to the dedicated and hardy counters that brave winter dawns to count these geese as they leave their night-time roosts. If you are interested in helping with the IGC this winter, please see the further details on Get involved.