Saturday, 1 December 2018

Update on Bean Goose flock at Slamannan

Recent stormy wet weather has not been good for keeping up with the Bean Goose flock.

However, flocks of between 20 and 60 have been seen near Slamannan. Some to the north of Dyke Farm below the skyline and others recently have been seen beside the River Avon just beside Hillend farm. This past week has seen this area to be flooded which often suits the bean geese as they can feed and roost in the same locality.

There has been a flock of c500 Pinkfeet seen near Strathavon Farm on the fields that slope towards the River Avon.

Can I remind birdwatchers that we try and not enrage farmers by entering their fields without permission. There is a lot of sheep in the area and it is wise not to disturb tups going about their business.

Trying to get close to bean geese generally means that you will spook the flock and repeated behaviour of this kind mean that they move off to quieter areas not to be seen again for many days.

Very frustrating for us who monitor the flock too. Please follow the birdwatchers code of conduct.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

October Update on Bean Goose flock at Slamannan

I am pleased to report that a recent visit at Luckenburn found approximately 142 bean geese.

Today there was still a flock of c128 birds there and another large flock in the oat field north of Slamannan on the main road to Falkirk. (warning) to birders:: this field is right next to a bad bend on the road so you cannot stop here without leaving yourself in a dangerous position on this busy road. Better to park up in one of laybays just to the north of this site and walk to get a view of the geese. Be careful though as the birds are liable to see you and move.

Below at picture taken at Luckenburn recently showing the birds in an 'alert' mode. This type of behaviour can certainly aid a count at the time.

Below a picture taken near Oakersdyke which shows how bean geese can utilise Juncus in a field to hide themselves whilst still finding food.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Update for autumn 2018

The flock at Luckenburn reached a figure of 164 birds on 4 October.

After this date the farmer at Luckenburn had to spread dung on his fields which resulted in the birds moving away to the east nearer Slamannan.

A flock of possibly up to 180 birds was seen on the 10 October in a oat stubble field on the main road from Slamannan to Falkirk.

As the birds had used this field on several occasions around this time we attempted to catch a small number of birds but were unlucky and the birds did not cooperate. However we hope to try again before too long if a suitable location can be found.

The use of the oat stubble was interesting as recently we had a visiting ornithologist from Umea in  north east Sweden who also studies a flock of taiga bean geese. In his area such stubble fields are used extensively by bean geese and he commented that it would be interesting if our 'beans' do the same thing this winter. We now know that to be the case and this scenario may well assist our wintering birds. (picture below of birds in the stubble field)

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The bean geese have arrived at Slamannan for winter 2018/2019

Hi all

The current flock probably arrived on the 25/26  September as they were located on site at Luckenburn on the 27th.

A visit on the 1 October gave lovely views of a flock of 140 geese.

As we have one live GPS collar (Tag30) we were able to follow the flight from southern Norway down the North Sea to the coastal area on the east coast around Eyemouth. They quickly changed direction to their usual wintering grounds near Slamannan.

I have managed to read some collars: 6X, 7V, S8, 6Z, 3Y, Tag4 (yellow ring on left leg),
Tag30 and its mate 6U.

Note: Birdwatchers beware of parking on the main road at Luckenburn as it is a busy through road between Greengairs and Slamannan. On no account should you park in the road leading to Luckenburn Farm. A safer place to park is at Shielknowes road end and observe the geese from there. On no account enter any of the fields occupied by the geese.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

News of Tag30 in Norway

The time has come to open up my winter blog on the bean geese flock that visit the Slamannan area in Falkirk.

Tag30 has recently made a flight south from the Glomma River north of Akershus and is now just north of Vigeland south Norway. (see picture below) I am sure the next spell of suitable weather will see our flock move to Scotland.

We have been able to recover the GPS collar 27 that was used last year after the bird was killed by we think a Golden Eagle.

We had a visit  recently from Adriaan de Jong from Umea in northern Sweden who studies another flock of Taiga Bean Geese.

We showed him around the Slamannan area and had a very interesting discussion on the type of farming land that is available to our birds compared with his patch in north east Sweden.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Some good news from Sweden

I am pleased to say that after the death of Tag27 we now have some positive information that the female Tag30 has now come back online and is in fact just to the east of where Tag27 had been.

We now hope that she is settling down to breed in this area of forest and lakes.

I will update the blog in due course with further information when it comes to hand.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Sad News from Sweden in recent days re Tag27

We have been following the exploits of tags 27 & 30 this spring as they moved through Norway en-route to their breeding grounds in Dalarna county Sweden.

Sadly it has now been confirmed that tag27 has died by natural causes. Predated by possibly either fox, lynx or taken by an eagle.

We have managed to recover the collar tag and it should be returned to us in due course. We must thank the chaps in Sweden who helped us find the remains of the bird.

I attach two pictures of its remains and the collar is clearly visible.