Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Xmas News from Slamannan

Pleased to report that all of our birds seem to be doing well in this stormy spell of weather. The flock is well split up and probably in roughly four to five separate groups.

Yesterday two groups were at Hillend Slamannan, one group of 17 north of the river and one of 37 on the south side. They have been using this area for about a week now for feeding and possibly roosting.

Garbethill Muir is being well used by a group of unknown size and the information is coming in live from birds that we caught this autumn. Some of the tags are not giving off information all of the time due to their batteries being low. The lack of sunshine recently is the cause of this.

Some roosting is taking place on Darnrig Moss and also at Fannyside Lochs/Muir.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

News Update for early December 2015

With all this rain we have been having the bean geese have not had to search much for drinking water or areas to roost in.

Roosting is still mainly done in and around the Fannyside Lochs area but with an additional roost site nr to Darnrig Moss.

Feeding areas recently have included fields north of Strathaven Farm some parts of Bandominie Farm and a few fields near Wester Lochgreen.

Birders are again asked not to be accessing fields with stock as most farmers are involved in tupping their sheep so please avoid disturbance to this activity.

Please be satisfied with a distant view as any approach will result in disturbance to the geese. Always remember they will see you before you see them.

I had two visitors from Liverpool this week and they went away happy with having seen c150 bean geese although at a fair distance.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

News Update on the Slamannan Bean Goose flock

Wintry weather has transformed the area around the town with the River Avon bursting its banks and flooding surrounding farmland.

Why is that newsworthy? Well the bean geese have found it to their liking and are feeding and roosting nr Hillend and the Dyke Farms.

Records from our 'tagged' geese have shown that they have been there for several nights and sometimes during the day.

A good place to look for them is from the playing field on the west side of the primary school.

Mentioning the school had an importance this week as I was invited to speak to one of the classes on the subject of the bean goose flock.

This class of youngsters really sat back and took in all I spoke about and were prepared to ask many pertinent questions relating to the bean geese flock. Of course they were under some pressure from their teacher Anne Wallace as they have to prepare a presentation on the subject to the rest of the school at an early morning assembly soon.

I hope to get an invitation to attend to see just how they perform. A bit like 'Strictly come Dancing' although I don't have to award points.

On looking through the pictures of the recent catch of birds at Luckenburn Farm I would like to share with you my favourite picture for this year. It shows one of the juvenile birds we caught in the gentle hands of Larry Griffin of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust with his colleague
Carl Mitchell. The looks on their respective faces says it all about their 'passion' for what they do for a living. I hope you agree.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Further News on the Bean Goose flock

A visit to the plateau in lovely sunshine yesterday resulted in really good views of a large flock of 165 beans and one juvenile Pinkfoot at Luckenburn.

Another flock of 52 was further to the east but showing well in a field of long grass.

This brings out flock total to 217. Still a bit short of the last few years but perhaps a few more are still to arrive.

As promised some pictures below of birds caught recently

 Adult male and his mate Adult female below

Friday, 30 October 2015

News update on the Bean Goose flock

A large flock of 135 birds were found yesterday well away from Luckenburn. They were in a field north west of Slamannan.

They may well use this area for the next day or so. Best place to view is from the Playing field on the Greengairs Road. A telescope is essential as the birds are some distance off.

Trying to approach the flock in this field is not likely to succeed as the birds are very way and will see your approach. The fields also have farming stock in them at present so please stay out. Thanks.

Another group of birds (74) were seen to the west of this area. That gives a new high for this year of 209 birds.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

News Update on our Bean Goose flock

The largest flock of  birds have settled down into a pattern this past week of using the fields at Luckenburn Farm for feeding during daylight hours and returning to roost at the Fannyside Lochs area.

A smaller group of c30 birds have moved elsewhere on the plateau for feeding.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

News Update on Bean Goose flock

A visit to Luckenburn today found a flock of 186 bean Geese.

This confirms that a further group of birds has arrived from Sweden/Denmark.

 Four new collared birds have also arrived. They are: 7X, 7T, and pair (7Y and 7Z )

In total we now have 20 bean geese in the present flock with collars or coloured leg rings.

Still to sort out the pictures taken at the catch on 9 October.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Photo of bird caught this week.

As promised I have commenced to download some pictures of the catch this week.
Below is a male Juvenile caught with his parents and other siblings. More to follow later.

Friday, 9 October 2015

News update on the Taiga Bean Goose flock at Slamannan

Seven bean geese were caught this morning at 0800hrs by a small team from WWT.

An adult pair and their three juveniles were amongst the catch. Incidentally the only juveniles to be seen in the present flock of 137 birds.

Two other adults were caught with one of them being a retrap from 2012.

I will add some pictures when they are available along with new collar numbers. We now have birds again with live feeds which will help us identify where they are feeding/roosting.

Our present flock have come via Norway and we are now waiting on the others who come south via south Sweden/Denmark.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

News from Slamannan tonight

Visited the roost site at Fannyside tonight and got the reward of seeing c100 bean geese coming in over Fannyside Muir from the north east and landing on East Fannyside Loch.

The loch had a lovely covering of white mist on it and soon the birds had disappeared.

Another winter season of monitoring has commenced.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

New update from Simon Rix in Norway

Simon has reported a flock total of 146 birds recently. Only one ring (6U) was read as the birds were in a forested area and not easy to see.
He was not able to judge the number of juveniles due to difficult viewing conditions.

They should be with us within the next 14 days or so. Watch out for easterlies which may help them make up their minds to cross the north sea.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

News from Simon Rix in Norway today

Great news today from Norway. Simon has been out and found 118 bean geese belonging to the Slamannan flock.

He was able to read 5 rings plus took a picture of what would appear to be 07 one of our favourite birds.

We no doubt will get further updates from him in the days ahead. Watch this space.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

News Update on Slamannan Bean Geese

Contrary to what we thought had occured it seems that some birds had arrived earlier than thought last September but had not used the Luckenburn Fields on their arrival. Instead they visited some remote areas to the North East of the study area and settled in to feed there.

We have now however established two distinct migratory routes from Scotland via Denmark, Norway and Sweden before the birds settle in Dalarna county in Sweden to breed.

One return route in the autumn follows a similar pattern southwards from Sweden - Norway - Denmark - Scotland.

A second route comes from Dalarna county to south Sweden - Denmark - Scotland.

At least one of our birds spent last winter in Denmark, joining up with other bean geese.

It seems we have to distinct groups of bean geese that winter with us on the Slamannan Plateau.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Migration Note for Bean Goose 7T

I thought I would share the spring migration route that 7T took this year after leaving Slamannan on the 17th February.

First stop Denmark and then on to Sweden where we managed to download all of the winter data which shows where the bird spent the winter with us.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

More news from Norway

Simon has updated his blog ( with a story and pictures on how he met up with Larry Griffin our bean goose man from WWT Caerlaverock.

Larry had been out in Sweden looking for Bewick Swans that winter at Slimbridge and following their migration route through Scandanavia.

He found our bean geese at Lake Brosjon but didn't find Tag04 which was the bird he was hoping to download winter data from its travels at Slamannan.

He then met up with Simon in Norway and low and behold found Tag04 only to be disappointed that it's battery seems to have stopped working.

Visit Simon's blog to see the pictures taken at this time.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

New update from Norway

Simon has posted an update on his blog which has loads of information on tagged birds and pictures of the bean geese on the Glomma River near Oslo.

I recommend viewing.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

News from Norway

Simon Rix in Norway has confirmed some of our geese (c45) have arrived in his area (Glomma River) and he has read the following collars:

6U, 6X, 6Z, 7P, 06, and possibly 03 (to be confirmed)

All of these birds have just spent the winter with us in Scotland and have flown via Denmark to Norway.

Simon has commented on their earlier arrival than usual for his area.

Friday, 6 March 2015

New update from Sweden

Ulf in Sweden has confirmed that 147 bean geese have been seen at Lake Brosjon in south Sweden and the following collars have been seen: 7Y, 7Z, V3,V6 and 7T

7Y is an adult male ringed on 7th October 2013 and his mate 7Z ringed at the same time. (see below)

V3 was a Juvenile female ringed on 7th October 2013

V6 Adult female ringed on 7th October 2013

7T Adult male ringed on 7th October 2013 and has a white ring on right leg

It is interesting that all of this group were caught together and now sharing the same migratory route through Sweden. It confirms what we now think that groups seen together in Scotland are all associated with each other and the areas they visit year round.

More details of collar sightings in the future will help us unravel the different groups.

Many thanks to Dan Magnsbo in Sweden and others who will be able to help us unravel this story

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Bean Goose news from Sweden

See below for information received this afternoon.

Dear Angus and others,

Yesterday (March, 3) 184 Bean Geese were observed at Brosjön in SW Sweden close to the big lake of Vänern. Already February 28, 130 Bean Geese were seen at the same site, which was the first date of observed bean geese this spring. There are no reports of rings or GPS transmittors, but likely it is the group of Scottish birds that have arrived to the same site they used last spring. As I informed you last year, historic data tells us that this site regularly have been used by about 100-150 birds for several decades.  

I will get into contact with the observers and see what more they can tell us.

All the best from ULF in Umeå

News from Simon Rix in Norway

An email just in from Simon with news of bean geese in his area near Oslo.

Click on the link below to follow his blog:

Monday, 23 February 2015

News from Denmark

Hi All

As promised we have news from Denmark where Thomas Heincke has found a large flock of our birds and was able to to read many of the collars codes which confirmed they were the Slamannan flock.

There is still some work to collate the information and if anything of further interest is found I will let you know.

We have analysed the weather patters on the 16th and 17th February and reckon that the air flow on both days gave the birds the opportunity to move east and cross the north sea. (see below)

Weather maps courtesy of

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Final Update on Bean Geese for winter 2014/2015

A roost visit to the Slamannan Plateau on Friday last confirmed what we had thought for a few days was that the birds had left the area between the 10th and 17th of February. Much earlier than normal.

Brian Minshull and I made observations at the main two roost sites last Friday evening and only two Canada geese were recorded flying into a flooded area at Darnrig Moss well after dusk.

The last largest count of c200 birds was reported by an observer at Beam Farm on the 9th and after that a count of 35 birds seen a few days later was the last record of bean geese this winter.

I expect the flock will be in Denmark, and now awaiting confirmation that they have been seen in their usual haunts there.

I will continue to put posts up on their progress in Scandanavia.

Monday, 16 February 2015

News Update on Bean Geese

I managed to find 35 bean geese this morning in the western sector of the study area. The rest of the birds are not within the central part of the Avon Valley as I had a good look around when I was out.

We had good news confirmed the other day when Falkirk Council confirmed that proposed large wind turbines that were within the planning system for land to the south of Auchengean Farm have now been withdrawn. This is a major decision in favour of protecting the bean goose flock and their habitats within the Slamannnan Plateau area.

We still cannot relax, as other wind farm companies have been out and about selling their products to other land users within the bean goose area on the plateau.

Their is now so much easy money to be made by landowners installing turbines it is no wonder they rub their hands with glee with the thought of making so much money without much effort. The Scottish Government seem little interested in protecting the natural environment and the birds and animals that live within it with their main focus being on supporting renewable energy at any cost.

It is essential that anyone interested in the protection of this species within Scotland and the UK  keep an eye on the Falkirk/North Lanarkshire planning systems so that they can record their feelings on such matters.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

News update on Slamannan bean geese

The cold snowy weather has persisted over this past week or so and finding some of the birds has been difficult.
However they are still around, although not in one large group but several sub groups.
They have not been seen around the Fannyside Lochs roost site for a while now which would indicate that they are preferring to stay out in their feeding areas during the night.

They are ranging along the northern edge of the study area with odd forays to the western edge near Cumbernauld.

I attach some pictures taken recently by Brian Minshull my colleague who is doing some study work in the area and has kindly given me permission to publish them on the blog. Thanks Brian.

The pictures show how the birds feed in and around woodland areas which is so like the habitat they use on migration in Norway and breeding grounds in Sweden.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Bean Goose News

With the snowy and wintry weather subsiding a little I managed a visit to the study area today.

There is a fair covering of snow on the plateau and the minor roads require care if you are driving on them. My 4x4 makes light work of such conditions.

After a hunt of about an hour I eventually found 48 bean geese to the NE of Slamannan.  On returning home a fox crossed my path on the main road to Falkirk. Hope he/she finds something to eat in such cold and snowy conditions.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Bean Goose News from a wintry central Scotland

The recent bad weather has prevented me from getting out to look for the bean geese. I was out a couple of days ago and pleased to find two groups totaling 216 birds.

The largest group of 158 birds were just NW of Slamannan in one of their regular fields. The second group were further west and totaled 58 birds. Quite a few birds with collars attached were visible but not easily read in the poor light conditions.

They are likely to stay around these areas for a few days if not disturbed. I hope to get out tomorrow (Sunday) to check up on their whereabouts.