Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Wild goose chase....

Greylag Geese
The Isle of Arran becomes home to around 400 - 500 of geese over the winter particularly around Shiskine although there is a small resident population of geese in Lamlash and Brodick, although they are known to move around. The migrant geese tend to arrive around the end of October and leave again at the end of March.

Even small flocks can make a considerable noise in flight
The geese tend to advertise their presence when flying with the familiar honking sound we can all recognise, however they are quiet and shy when in the fields.

Waddling away from the camera!
Most of the geese are Greylags and arrive from Iceland but mixed in amongst the flock, Pink-footed and Barnacle geese can often be seen. The Greylag is a direct ancestor of domestic geese and is semi tame in large parts of England.  However the visitors to Arran are of the wilder and more shy variety; they take flight at the slightest hint of danger, always at the sight of a camera and as a minimum turn their backs and waddle off in the opposite direction!

In flight
The geese on Arran are tolerated by the farmers which is not the case in many places where they are considered a nuisance, and in fact cause considerable damage and financial loses to the agricultural economy through grazing. But to balance this down side there are a large number of ‘goose tourists’ that bring wider benefits to communities.

Synchronised flying!
The Isle of Islay is invaded by around 35 000 Barnacle geese each year;  with these sorts of numbers arriving yearly, it should not be a surprise that there is a National GooseManagement group and associated policies!

Pink footed geese 
It is legal to shoot Greylag and Pink footed geese at certain times of the year but not Barnacle geese.

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