Wednesday, January 19, 2011


A somewhat routine repeat of yesterday given I was counting on the same route! Lest this might be interpreted as a grumble, isn't. The survey is designed to be carried out over two days so a more accurate picture can be gained of the goose numbers concerned in any given sector. Research has shown that geese are very "loyal" to a given feeding area so that , give or take a few fields, they are present within the overall same locality. The slight complication at the moment is that we have a virtual full moon so that means geese are feeding out overnight and remaining on the saltmarsh resting up during the day. Our route included part of the Inner Loch on which we had in excess of 2500 Barnacle Geese, the majority of which appeared to be present in the late afternoon, following a day of relaxation in the ever warming sun!!

Several farms had Chaffinch flocks around their stack yards numbering between 100 and 150 birds, but containing nothing else. And at last, in three places, I heard partial song from Wrens, whose numbers appear a bit low at present to say the least. Stonechat too is a bird that appears to have been hit by the recent poor weather. I wonder whether the extent to which poor weather in early winter is actually worse than that which appears in , say, mid February. In December the nights are very long and available foraging time is very limited , at least in February the day has extended by an hour or two which might make a big difference in terms of survival, particularly if it coincides with the worst of the winter.

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