Sunday, 14 August 2011

Are the Wintering Geese Back Already? (No, but the Turnstones are!)

You could hardly have failed to miss the skeins of geese over Nairn over the passed few weeks, with many people asking the question, are the wintering geese were returning already?  Well, the short answer is no.  I believe the geese we are seeing now are the local population of Greylags that have been breeding around here over the summer.  You may remember a post from June where I talked about families of Greylag on Lochindorb.  Well it is probably these same birds that are now flying overhead and roosting off the Old Bar.  Some of them might be part of the local resident Greylags, whilst others will be building up strength for the journey south in the next month or so. 

From what I can tell, the wintering Pinkfoot Geese will be starting to arrive here on 20th September, and a couple of weeks later we should start seeing the migratory Greylags and Brent, along with a spattering of other species.

As for the Turnstones: we were down at the harbour today (with hoards of other people lapping up the sunshine and warmth) and we heard flocks of Redshanks and Turnstones calling from the harbour wall - the area where they can always be seen in the winter whilst they wait for the tide to turn so they can go for a feed.  We do have a few Redshanks that stay here over the summer, but these numbers grow along with the Turnstones returning in the winter, as they congregate around the harbour and give me something to observe in the cold!
This is a phot from earlier in the year down on the River. 

The Turnstones plumage changes radically over the summer, and the birds currently here now are still showing some of the breeding plummage; I will try to capture a photo in the next few days and post it here to show you the differences.


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