The Pinkies are here!

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Flanders Moss NNR

Over the last few weeks the Pink-footed Geese have been pouring into Scotland and settling on the Carse of Stirling.  Their ‘wink, wink’ calls really are a sound of autumn as they arrive from Iceland and Greenland to spend the winter in the UK. They come here because the mild winters and good agricultural land mean lots of available food not covered in snow and the UK now holds 50% of the world’s population between September and April. On the land around Flanders Moss the numbers peak in October, November and again in March. This is because birds stop on the Carse to feed up once they arrive but then half of them continue south the winter in England. Of the birds that stay, different birds have different strategies. Some return to the same patch of farmland each winter and stay there in family groups through out the winter. But others are much more mobile and travel large distances looking for better feeding.

If you see a big group in the fields next to Flanders it is always worth stopping and watching them for a while. They are team birds, always communicating to each other, taking turns of being on sentry duty and having occasional squabbles. Also occasionally you might see a different species of goose that has got lost and joined up. Last week I saw a Barnacle Goose mixed in with some Pinkies so it is always worth having a scan.

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