Basin Notes - September 2005

Pink-footed geese arrive to mark start of autumn

Autumn is definitely upon as the Pink-footed Geese arrive a week early at the Montrose Basin!

It is normally the middle of the month before these wildfowl arrive from their summering haunts in Iceland, but this autumn a party of 15 `wiffled' on to the mud on the 8th! At the time of writing, there are over 350 coming into roost each evening.

This means that there will be very large numbers for the `Goose Breakfast' on the 2nd of October between 6.45 and 8.45 am.

The wader numbers are also building up with 2,258 Oystercatchers, 1,239 Redshanks, 1,229 Lapwings, 1,532 Curlews, 160 Knots and 72 Dunlin.

It is also the time to look out for passage waders such as Common Sandpipers, Greenshanks and Whimbrels.

Ducks too are on the increase with 722 Eiders, 350 Wigeon and 259 Mallard counted recently.

Other interesting numbers of wildlife have included the 68 Grey Herons, which have been feeding in the Basin; then roosting near the Old Harbour, and Common Seal numbers have reached eight recently.

Some people were reporting geese over a month ago, and almost certainly these would have been Canada Geese which each summer after the nesting season fly to the Beauly Firth to undergo a moult, and spend at least six weeks there before returning to their normal haunts.

It is not only the Pinkfeet, which can be seen at the moment. Brent Geese are also being seen passing by Lunan Bay.

However, lets not despair, as there are still plenty of signs of summer around. The Swallows are still flying around the centre, up to five Ospreys have been catching fish in the Basin and butterflies such as Small Coppers, Red Admirals, Large Whites, Small Whites, Greenveined Whites, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Painted Ladies are still very much on the wing.

Even although the Work Party has been clearing much of the vegetation around the Centre and car park recently, there is still a splash of floral colour around.

If you ever get the opportunity to go along to a moth evening, take advantage of it as a couple of friends of mine set up a trap at the edge of the Basin where I live and attracted to a light such wonderful sounding moths as Rosy Rustic, Flounced Rustic, Square-spot Rustic, Garden Dart, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Mother of Pearl, Dotted Clay, Common Wainscot, Orange Swift, Dark Arches, Barred Straw and Canary-shouldered Thorn.

There is always something of interest occurring at the wildlife centre with one of the recent ones being a `Fun Day' which attracted over 100 people who enjoyed a mock `mud rescue' and a very special magician.

Still to be enjoyed are the exhibitions by the Montrose Basin Heritage Society and Syd Walker's `The Basin and Beyond'. I wonder how many of you pass the centre thinking "I must drop in there one day". Well, don't pass by next time, drop in and I am sure that you will make it a more frequent event.