Weekend of activities showcasing spectacular sight

THIS month offers a number of opportunities for nature lovers to enjoy one of the most spectacular sights of Montrose Basin’s year - its resident flocks of pink footed geese.

Every year more than 60,000 take up residence on the Basin for the winter, having travelled 746 miles from their breeding grounds in Iceland, and prove to be a popular attraction for the public.

Staff and volunteers at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s (SWT’s) Montrose Basin Visitor Centre are gearing up to host a month of weekend activities which will bring the public closer to the geese, which were featured recently on BBC2’s Landward programme.

Montrose Basin is an internationally important site for wintering Pink-footed Geese as well as many other wildfowl and waders and the Visitor Centre is a premier spot for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers to experience this fantastic reserve. The reserve offers visitors the chance to enjoy some of the best close-up views of Pink-footed Geese in the UK.

Events begin tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday, November 11, from 10.30 a.m. until 4 p.m. with an optical fair, where a wide selection of telescopes and binoculars will be available to buy with expert advice from an Opticron representative. From 1 to 3 p.m. on the same weekend ranger Anna Cheshier, will lead an afternoon of birdwatching. Staff and volunteers will also be on hand to show how to use the centre’s telescopes and binoculars and point out the wildlife on the Basin to get the best viewing experience.

The other main event of the month is the following weekend on Sunday, November 18, when the centre will host the last of its popular Goose Breakfast events, from 7 until 10 a.m. The Goose Breakfast is a chance to experience the unique sight and sound of thousands of pink footed geese taking off from their roost at dawn before returning to the visitor centre where a hearty breakfast awaits along with a warm welcome from the staff and volunteers. Booking is essential for this very popular event.

Caroline Hendry, regional visitor centre manager for Perthshire and Angus, said “This is a month packed with winter wildlife watching activities and a great opportunity to improve your birdwatching identification skills. Visitors also have the opportunity to treat themselves to some new binoculars or telescopes as an early Christmas present at our Optical Fair.”

Further information is available from the visitor centre on 01674 676336.