Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

 

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

 

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

 

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Try a wild goose chase

Pink-footed geese © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Be amazed as a quarter of the world’s pink-footed geese fly over your head.

For the greatest spectacle, visit at dawn or dusk. Bring your binoculars and wear woolies and best gloves to keep you warm

Having spent the brief Arctic summer nesting up on the open tundra of central Iceland, a pink-footed goose will move to open water and spend 25 days totally flightless, moulting her wing feathers in preparation for the great flight south.  One mid-autumn day, with the wind in the right direction, the cold starting to bite and the food starting to run out, with her family at her side, she will take flight and head off into the North Atlantic.  Six hours later she makes landfall on the Faeroe Islands, where the family rest for a day before taking off again, this time with Scotland in her sights.  She arrives at Montrose Basin on the Angus coast the next day.  And she’s not alone.

In October 2015 a record breaking 85,632 pink-footed geese were counted at Montrose Basin, one quarter of the entire world population.  The flocks roost overnight on the open water of the estuary, leaving the basin at dawn to fly out to feed on the surrounding fields.  The sight and sound of thousands of geese heading overhead, skein after skein, ‘ink ink’ing as they go is one of the highlights of the autumn wildlife calendar.

The geese gather on the Montrose Basin in large numbers during October and November before moving on to other feeding grounds further south, in Lancashire and East Anglia.

How to do it

For the greatest spectacle, visit at dawn or dusk. Bring your binoculars and a flask of hot chocolatewear woollies and best gloves to keep you warm.  

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… Pink-footed geese move about a lot during the winter, with flocks flying from Scotland to Lancashire to Norfolk and back in a few days.  Keep your eyes skywards, as a skein of high flying geese could well be pink-feet.

Special spots

Just minutes from the centre of Montrose, the tidal Montrose Basin in Angus plays host to one of the largest autumn gatherings of pink-footed geese in Scotland.

Lincolnshire, Gibraltar Point

Norfolk, Holme Dunes

Norfolk, Cley Marshes

Northumberland,  East Chevington

Yorkshire, Spurn National Nature Reserve

Pink-footed goose © Harry Bickerstaff