Fly away with the brent geese

Fly away with the brent geese


Posted 7th Nov 2017


Image courtesy of © Derek Moore

Around 91,000 dark-bellied brent geese will travel to Britain each autumn from their nesting grounds on the Taymyr Peninsula, in Siberia

Spending their winter in our sheltered estuaries and coastal marshes on the east and south coasts, from the Humber round to Portland, they are actually our smallest goose, around the same size as a mallard. The brent geese will spend the winter feeding on eel grass and grazing in coastal fields, yet as spring approaches, they gather together in their largest numbers at the start of February, preparing to make the long journey back to Arctic Russia - this is a great time to pay them a visit.

Large flocks will collect together, with a continual conversation of 'ronking' and 'cronking' as they discuss the best feeding places and the ideal time to set off.

How to do it

Wrap up warm and head to one of their favourite coastal haunts with a pair of binoculars. You can spend the day enjoying a wild goose chase, and finish it off with a bag of chips.

If you're unable to visit a special place listed below, around 5,000 birds of the pale-bellied sub-species visit Lindisfarne from their breeding grounds on Svalbard, with around 35,000 flying all the way from eastern Arctic Canada to spend their winters in Ireland, mainly in northern Ireland.

Special spots

Cley Marshes is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s oldest and best known nature reserve, one of the first nature reserves in the country and home in the winter to a large flock of brent geese which grazes on Eye Field, sometimes attracting individuals of the rare black brant, a visitor from America.

Essex, The Naze

Essex, Two Tree Island

Hampshire, Farlington Marshes

Lincolnshire, Donna Nook

Lincolnshire, Gibraltar Point

Sussex, Rye Harbour

Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts





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