Quite a busy day on the reserve today as the Aberdeen local group can to do some management work, cutting scrub, clearing willows and gorse around Bay Hide and making a fairly impressive fire on the loch shore to burn the cuttings. Typical that the day we're building a fire is one of the warmest days we've had in the whole of September! We really appreciate the work the local group have done on the reserve recently. They're a very active group with lots of trips, visits and winter talks so if you're in the Aberdeen area it's well worth checking out their website- http://www.rspb.org.uk/groups/aberdeen. You have to be an RSPB member to join but you can join at a meeting or on any visit to the reserve.
Another early goose count on Friday morning turned up slightly lower numbers than expected, with just 16,000 counted on the reserve. However, the combination of a full moon, the fact that we mostly had to count geese on the ground instead of in the air (always much harder) and the giant eagle sat on the low ground all morning probably help to explain why the numbers were a bit down...
The flock did contain nearly 400 Barnacle Geese, which is a great number for the reserve. They're scattered in amongst the Pink-feet but are easy to pick out once you've got your eye in. We've also got a couple of slightly more unusual geese in the flock- one leucistic or white Barnacle Goose which looks a lot like a Snow Goose on first glance and one Bar-headed Goose which is most likely an escape from a collection but could just possibly have flown all the way from the other side of the Himalayas!
If you want to come and see the goose flocks, then we've posted the dates for our dawn and dusk Goosewatches on our website. Dawn and dusk are when the geese more from the reserve to their feeding fields and back again and in previous years we've seen huge flocks taking to the air as the sun rises. There's also the chance we'll spot owls, badgers or harriers as well a good chance of seeing Red A if he stays on the reserve. You can get a tiny taste of the Goosewatch experience with the latest video on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RSPBNorthEastScotland or by clicking here. Just make sure you've got the sound turned on on your computer first!
We're also keeping an eye on our Konik ponies. Visitors may have noticed that they've moved from the low ground out into the marsh where they're much harder to see from the visitor centre. The marsh is the place we need them most, where the juncus and rush that they're here to eat are thickest, so they may stay out there for much of the winter. They're still distantly in view from the visitor centre but you may see them best by looking across the loch from Fen Hide.