Thursday, 15 December 2016

News Update 15 December 2016

A large flock of bean geese (c150) have been present much of this past week north west of Slamannan

A roost visit tonight at Fannyside saw a flock of c100 birds fly in from the north and land in West Fannyside Loch.

I attach a couple of pictures taken recently of weather patterns seen on the plateau.

 Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin
viewed from Slamannan using a telephone lens
during the recent cold spell in November

Sunset at Slamannan 15 Dec 2016

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Update on Bean Goose movements 3 Dec 2016

The wintering flock are quite widely spread in the Slamannan area most days.

Small groups have been noted well to the north and west of the plateau. But a look around the minor roads can often be rewarding.

I had a visit this past week by Larry Griffin from WWT who had come north from Caerlaverock to try and catch up with the bird 7T. This bird was caught in 2013 and fitted with a GSM collar which allows the information contained within to be downloaded periodically to follow its movements.
Luckly we caught up with it within the hour and were able to download data from March 2016 right through to October. It is fantastic that this collar is still working so well as it was made up by Larry at the time and virtually stuck together with glue.

The total flock size is still the same with 216 being the highest count so far.

Further checks for juveniles within the flock have been disappointing with only 4 seen this past week.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Update on Bean Geese flock Slamannan

In recent days most of the birds have been feeding to the north of Parkhead Farm.

The recent cold weather and some snow has not been a bother to them and they continue to feed away quite easily.

Saw a nice female Sparrowhawk today skirting around the field near where the bean geese were feeding. Needless to say they never lifted their heads.

No Pinkfeet flocks have arrived in the area yet to feed although roosting is taking place on Loch Elrig or Gardrum Moss. Well worth a visit to this area at dawn or dusk.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Update on recent location of bean goose flock

Two flocks were found today totaling 164 birds.

One flock of c70 birds was beside the main Slamannan to Falkirk road just north of the Dyke Farm

The other flock comprising c94 birds was to the north of Parkhead Farm Slamannan.

 Pictures below are courtesy of John Nadin who visited the plateau recently

The top picture shows the geese in an 'alert' posture which would normally indicate that they were aware of the photographer.

The picture below shows them in a much more relaxed mode possibly due to the sunlight which often can shine in their eyes making the viewer less distinct.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Update on Bean Geese flock at Slamannan 24/10/2016

The bean geese have now began their usual winter routine of breaking up into different groups and moving about separately within their wintering area.

Sadly one of the juvenile birds that was caught last year with two other siblings has not returned this winter. (photo below)

The highest count is still at 216 but I have a suspicion it is actually higher. Hopefully further field counts will confirm this.

Roosting is still largely taking place at the Fannyside Lochs area.

Large numbers of Pinkfeet are presently roosting on Loch Elrig or the nearby Gardrum Moss.
Also of interest is the large numbers of Canada Geese (c250) roosting on Gardrum Moss
There was also c100 Canada Geese seen recently at East Fannyside Loch roost site.

Monday, 10 October 2016

News Update on Bean Goose flock at Slamannan

A large bean goose flock was seen at Luckenburn this morning.

Approximately 200 birds present in the flock. Estimate of flock size at present is in the region of 216 birds.

If anyone reads collar codes please advise me of what you see and when and where. Thanks.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Bean Geese arrival at Slamannan

A large bean goose flock left south coast of Norway at 1200 on 2 October and came ashore south of Berwick and north of Seahouses around 2200 hrs.
It looks like they quickly changed their flight route and re-located to Slamannan as by 0600 they were on the Fannyside Moss roost site.

Observations yesterday confirmed that we had 178 birds back so far and hopefully more to follow.

Still awaiting to see if tag10 has returned but other 'live' tags have made it. This should give us good location information again this winter.

The flock was seen yesterday south of Wester Jawcraig Farm.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

News Update on Slamannan Bean Goose flock

There have been no positive sightings of bean geese in the Slamannan area so far this autumn.

On checking the blog of Simon the Oslo birder today on his return from a birding trip to the Lofoten Islands he has checked out the bean geese flock and found the same group of birds in residence.

He has posted some pictures of same and they can be seen at

I would imagine that our geese would wait for favourable winds and weather conditions before deciding to move.

The westerly gales that we have at present are not conducive for geese flying the north sea to Scotland.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Bean Geese Update 21 September 2016

I have had a drive around the Slamannan Plateau this week and all of the fields are looking in good condition for the return of our flock from Norway.

I checked the bean goose website this afternoon and see that our birds with live collars are still NE of Oslo next to the Glomma River where they go in the autumn after visiting Denmark.

Their is high pressure over Scandanavia at present which might encourage them to move but will depend on wind directions.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

News update on bean geese in Norway courtesy of Simon Rix

Simon was out on 12 September to try and age the bean goose flock for juveniles with adults.
This task is not an easy one as we well know from our experiences at Slamannan. It would seem that only 4 juveniles could be seen in a flock of 129 birds.

Almost similar numbers to what we found at Slamannan last autumn.

Simon has nice pictures and some movies of the flock which are well worth looking at.


Thursday, 1 September 2016

Update on swan and goose reports now available from WWT

For Bean Goose enthusiasts the link below will give you the annual report from WWT  on Bean Geese

With thanks to Carl Mitchell and the team at Slimbridge.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Update on our bean geese in Norway

Simon Rix the Oslo birder has been busy again out looking at the bean geese that are staging near Oslo.

The flock count has gone up to 90 birds but Simon is having a problem trying to do some age counts because the birds are so wary.

He has again put some nice pics on his website ( which are well worth looking at.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Further news and Pictures from Norway

Simon in Norway has been busy looking for bean geese near his home in Oslo. The results of his endeavours can be seen on his blog ( We can see Tag10 amongst a flock of 50 birds.

His pictures as usual are first class in showing the habitat the birds are using and then managing to capture them in flight, with inserts of collared birds.

It is interesting too to try and understand their early arrival in this location. Do they react to early indications of an early drop in temperatures or have they moulted early and decided to move south.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

News Update on Tag10 in Norway

I have noted today via the bean goose website ( that Tag10 has moved south towards the Glomma river NE of Oslo where the birds visit on their spring migration.

Tag 10 bill pattern

Tag 29 has now also downloaded a new position which is north of where Tag10 is at present

Sunday, 7 August 2016

News from Sweden 5 August 2016

Hi all

Tags 10, 27, 29 and 30 continue to work after the breeding season. The autumn 2016 migration diary is as follows.

5 August Tags, 10,27,29 and 30 finish their annual moult and move to forest wetland near Storbo (close to the Norwegian border).
This is great news and means that we may well have 'live' information again this coming winter on the Slamannan Plateau

There is a new autumn migration 2016 link on the bean goose website

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Summer news from Sweden

I was delighted a few weeks ago to hear from Simon Rix (Oslo Birder) that he had been out and about in Dalarna County in Sweden and had managed to photograph some of our Slammanan birds on their breeding territory. Unfortunately no confirmation of breeding was obtained but some lovely habitat shots were taken during his visit and one of tag10 taken with a mate.

I attach some of these shots courtesy of Simon.

Bean Geese Habitat Dalarna county
Tag10 (male) on the right with female on the left

Bean Geese Habitat Dalarna County Sweden

Tag10 in flight with some other possible non breeders

Monday, 18 April 2016

Bean Geese in Sweden

All of the bean geese are now in Dalarna County Sweden for breeding. No further information will be available during this period.

I will update you if any breeding information is obtained from ornithologists in Sweden.

Tag10 has been in this area since early April

Picture of Tag10 when given his new collar last October.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

News Update on the Bean Goose flock

The bean geese flock of c150 birds has now moved further north from their previous position on the Glomma River to the NE of Oslo.

This is a known intermediate staging post that our birds have used in previous years.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

News Update for 2 April 2016

Got an interesting piece of information from Simon in Norway that he had just recorded one of our birds taking off and having a super flight to the west coast of America and then returning to the Ukraine in Europe.

See tracking data picture below.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

News Update on the Slamannan bean geese in Norway

Our group of live tagged birds continue to spend their days and nights on the Glomma River NE of Oslo and surrounding field systems.

Nights seem to be spent on one particular spot on the river which I think is a sandbank which becomes exposed when the tidal flow lowers allowing the birds a safe place to roost.

They also seem to explore areas at the river bank which probably indicates feeding taking place in the shallow waters at the river side.

Simon has been adding some lovely shots of a Great Crested Grebe who is a dab hand at catching fish. Have a look at his blog if you don't believe me. (

Sunday, 20 March 2016

News Update from Norway

Simon continues to publish pictures of bean geese and other birds he has been looking at in his travels around his home town of Oslo.

Always stimulating to look at his bird pictures and the variety of species seen in his local area.


Thanks Simon for allowing us the pleasure of looking at all the different species and following your journeys.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

New Update on the bean geese flock in Norway

Again we are indebted to Simon Rix (Oslo Birder) who has updated his blog with new pictures of the Scottish flock. (see below)

His total has gone up to 134 birds with some new collars seen.

I attach one picture but there are many more on his blog (

Information from Brosjon Sweden has confirmed another part of our flock have arrived there after being in Denmark. The count there is 142 birds with collars V6, 7T, 7Z, 7Y plus another older solar collar with no markings visible.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

New Update on happenings in Norway (courtesy of Simon)

For some super photographs and stories of what it is like to be a bean goose watcher log into Simons blog for the story plus pictures of what happens when a Sea Eagle turns up. It is fascinating.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

New shots of Bean Geese in Norway courtesy of Simon Rix

For full information about the bean geese in Norway click on

Here is a sample of his photographs recently taken:

Monday, 14 March 2016

Latest News of the Bean Goose flock 14 March 2016

Our birds have now left Denmark and have moved to their next staging post on the Glomma River NE of Oslo. (See picture below)

Simon Rix has been out and found a flock of c90 birds sitting on a large snow covered field not far from the river. I hope to be able to add a picture soon of their new location.

Tag30 an adult female that was not transmitting information has now come back online and given us information of it's whereabouts in Denmark since 11 Feb. (see picture below)

Sunday, 6 March 2016

New Update of our Bean Geese near Pandrup Denmark 6 March 2016

A visit has been made to monitor our flock in northern Denmark and the good news is that a flock of 229 birds plus a possible other 60 are in residence at present.

They are accompanied by good numbers of Greylag.

Feeding and roosting is taking place on a wide open farm landscape and the pictures below gives you a flavour of what it is like at this time of year.

All pictures are courtesy of Carl Mitchell of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

                                                            Can you spot the flock?

Does this help?

Through a scope. Collared bird 4th from left

Monday, 22 February 2016

News Update 22 February 2016

Another of our tagged bean geese (UCOL10) has come back online and confirmed that he is with his pals UCOL27 & UCOL29 who he was with when caught on 9 October 2015. All are still west of Pandrup North Denmark and feeding during the day in a large field system. Roosting has taken place locally on a lake or on the sea.

He is now wearing his second collar having lost his first one fitted in 2011. He does have a green ring on his right leg so easily identified.

I was out on the Plateau today and managed to find a small group of Whooper Swan who we don't often see. Picture below.

I attach two shots taken from the north edge of the Slamannan Plateau near Shieldhill Falkirk which shows nicely how high the area is where the bean geese winter. The area is over 200m in height.
                                           UCOL 10 Adult Male retrapped 9 October 2015

                                          Whooper Swans nr Balmitchell Farm Slamannan

                                       View North to the Ochil Hills from Shieldhill Falkirk

View North West to Trossachs from Shieldhill Falkirk

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

News Update from Pandrup Denmark

Another of our birds (ucol27) has signed in from Denmark and the flight information is remarkable. It confirms that our 'live' telemetry tagged birds were at the Fannyside roost at Midnight on the 9 Feb, left the roost and flew to Garbethill Muir and fed during the day. They then took off on their flight to Denmark probably in the evening in a strong westerly airstream (see below) which on arrival in Denmark put them approximately 50 miles north of their usual staging post. They then orientated themselves and by midnight on the  11 Feb had arrived at their usual haunt west of Pandrup.

                                              Weather and wind pattern for 9 Feb 2016

Saturday, 13 February 2016

News of Bean Geese now in North Denmark

We now have confirmation that bean geese were still present at Fannyside Muir on the 9th at 0700hrs but not present there on the 10th. One of our live tagged birds (29) is now showing up in Denmark since the 11th so would indicate a movement between 9th/10th of Feb.

However there have been reports of some possible bean geese still around the Fannyside Muir area. Further observations are in progress.

This movement is the earliest recorded for springtime movements of our flock.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Bean Goose News 9 Feb 2016

I have been out the past two days but unable to see any bean geese, but some of them are still here as of yesterday.

Tracking data has shown them to be feeding in an isolated field which you cannot see from any of the minor roads that crisscross the plateau.

Still flocks of Pinkfeet in and around Slamannan.

I attach a shot taken the other day which I thought I would share with you. The sun shone that day so it was nice to get a  winter scene near Strathavon Farm Slamannan. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

News Update from Slamannan 3 Feb 2016

What a lovely day at last. Sunshine from dawn to dusk. Arrived on the plateau at lunchtime after spending the morning in Stirling. First port of call was a small field at Bandominie Farm that is sometimes favoured by groups of bean geese. Parked up and walked a short distance up a farm track being careful not to be seen by geese if they were in residence. Bingo, there they were a small flock of c40 birds. Managed to get a shot of them and see below for the scene.

Toured around after that but couldn't find any more bean geese but near Oakersdyke Farm observed a large flock of c700 Pinkfeet.  Picture below.

Afterwards visited Darnrig Moss to take in the scene of where some of our birds are now roosting. What used to be a small pond is now a lake and very suitable for geese to roost with adjoining fields suitable for night feeding as often happens. See Picture.

                                            flock of c40 bean Geese nr Bandominie Farm

                                                               Darnrig Moss Pool

                                               Flock of c700 Pinkfeet Oakersdyke Farm

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

News update from a windswept Slamannan Plateau

A visit yesterday to the plateau was rewarding even although the weather conditions made looking through binoculars or telescopes very difficult.

Two flocks of bean geese were found quite near Slamannan. One flock of c140 birds was seen south of Easter Jawcraig and the other of 73 birds seen near Shortrig. A flock of c80 Pinkfeet were also seen in conjunction with the largest group of bean geese. Two Pinkfeet were in amongst the flock of 73 bean geese.

With some blue sky evident during my visit it prompted me to visit the Fannyside Lochs area to see if any damage had been caused by the high winds and recent heavy rains. It all seemed as normal and the picture below gives one the view that the bean geese see when roosting in this area.

We often get visitors coming to see the bean goose flock and it is worth knowing that there is a local bed and breakfast at Easter Glentore Farm. (only 5 mins away from the roost area)

Elsie and Alistair Hunter have a nice property where they offer B & B and also a self-catering cottage which is attached to their farm steading.

You can contact them at 044 (0) 1236 830243 or mobile 07708 101765. You can visit their website at

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Visit details 25th January 2016

A short visit to the plateau on the afternoon of the 25th was rewarded by a flock of 62 bean geese being seen near Parkhead Farm.

Weather conditions were overcast with rain showers in the air. Birds all looked in good fettle as per the picture attached.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Breaking News from the Slamannan Plateau

A visit to the plateau on the 14th January by a team from the Bean Goose Action Group resulted in a new high count for this winter period.
Four separate flocks of bean geese were counted in the afternoon which gave us a total of 263 birds.
It is thought that with cold weather conditions in Denmark it may have prompted some of our birds to return to Scotland rather than wintering in the low countries.
It would be nice to confirm that if we could find some birds with collars not already seen this winter.
Snow and icy conditions are still present on the plateau and I took a few shots yesterday of the conditions. Believe me there are birds in the fields in front of you in the middle picture.  Shots were taken by a 55mm lense. The single bird picture was taken through my telescope lense.

                                           General view of the plateau near Slamannan. 

                                                   43 Bean Geese in middle field

                                            Yes, Bean Geese can sit on snow quite happily

Friday, 8 January 2016

Happy New Year to all bean goose blog readers

I have been away over New Year so not been out on the plateau over that period. Two days ago got a nice flock of c60 birds near Bandominie Farm at the western edge of the study area. Nothing else showing around the usual haunts at Slamannan.

Managed a quick look around today in very cold conditions but the fog closed in this afternoon making seeing more than 50m impossible.

Cold weather forecast next week but at least it will be dry and more favourable for finding the geese.