Are BRENT geese a rare sighting

Hi everyone

Been up at Gruinard Bay in North West Scotland, when about 30 Brent Geese landed, they were pretty jumpy as I tried to get close to take a photograph as they all took flight again, but came back to the same spot about 30 minutes later.    This is the first time I have ever seen these Geese, are they a rare sighting?

 

 EJ's Memorial    Balgavies Loch Ospreys 2021

  • Hi,

    No,not rare. I would have thought these were a bit early arriving, but large numbers of Brent geese come to UK every Winter. Dark bellied are more numerous here than pale bellied (which yours are), so you have seen something many of us don't often see. However, pale bellies are far more likely in NW Britain as they come from Greenland and further out that way. Dark bellies come from the East.

    Migrating wildfowl shouldn't be approached as they're wild, tired at this time of year, and don't like people pointing things at them as many get shot. Please bear this in mind.

    Cheers. Rob

  • Hi Mary, Brent Geese are generally winter visitors and, according to my books, usually in Ireland or south east England, so your sighting would seem a bit unusual!

    Crossed post with Robbo.

    Gill

  • In reply to GillP:

    Hi Mary, according to the RSPB some 95000 Brent Geese spend the winter in the UK. It seems that most of the white-bellied race head for Ireland although apparently some do go to Lindisfarne in Northumberland. The dark-bellied race go mainly to the estuaries around the east and south-east coasts of England.

    As far as I know they don't winter in Scotland so I suspect the birds you saw were on passage to Ireland and had just dropped in for a feed en-route.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    I've been driven to doing a bit of reading as I've seen flocks of brent in Devon, South Wales and West Wales, all in recent years. Even though the map doesn't suggest it on RSPB site for brents, it does include them as 'seasonal highlights' for Exminster.....somewhere I regularly see them. (South Devon for any that don't know). South Wales I've seen them on the Gower peninsula (and they're regularly there in Winter), Anglesey gets brents, I've not seen them at Caerleverock but they visit that area of SW Scotland each Winter etc.

    Whilst Ireland and SE England hold the largest numbers in the British Isles, the books and maps paint a slightly inaccurate picture?

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Robbo said:
    I've seen flocks of brent in Devon, South Wales and West Wales, all in recent years

    Robbo said:
    South Wales I've seen them on the Gower peninsula (and they're regularly there in Winter), Anglesey gets brents

    That's good to hear. Which race were they?

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    TeeJay said:

    South Wales I've seen them on the Gower peninsula (and they're regularly there in Winter), Anglesey gets brents

    That's good to hear. Which race were they?[/quote]

    Typically Dark-bellied are the race found south and east of a line from North Yorkshire to Glamorgan (including in those counties) with Pale-bellied found elsewhere in Britain and Ireland, but with none of either race habitually wintering west of the Exe estuary in Devon and Cornwall.

    Individuals frequently join up with flocks of the other subspecies, and there are sometimes flocks found in the 'wrong' area. Small numbers of Pale-bellied do sometimes winter in parts of western Scotland, but most are likely to be moving through when seen here. These would be pretty much right on time for the earlier arrivals.

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    TeeJay said:

    That's good to hear. Which race were they?

    All dark.n.b. I've not been to Anglesey. Just know brents go there.

  • In reply to RoyW:

    RoyW said:

     These would be pretty much right on time for the earlier arrivals.

    Again, from what I've read (and I've not seen any brents in Sept personally), books and website state from October.....so not everything we read is always accurate. (books and websites I mean,, not Roy!)

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Agree with Roy,pretty close to time for the first arrivals.The comment from Robbo about not approaching tired migrants is quite relevant at this time of year but not being a photographer I have no idea how close you need to get with modern kit.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Robbo said:

    Hi,

    No,not rare. I would have thought these were a bit early arriving, but large numbers of Brent geese come to UK every Winter. Dark bellied are more numerous here than pale bellied (which yours are), so you have seen something many of us don't often see. However, pale bellies are far more likely in NW Britain as they come from Greenland and further out that way. Dark bellies come from the East.

    Migrating wildfowl shouldn't be approached as they're wild, tired at this time of year, and don't like people pointing things at them as many get shot. Please bear this in mind.

    Cheers. Rob

    Thank you for the information regarding these geese, much appreciated.   These photos were taken with a 300 mm lens so I wasn't so close to them and crouched down, they left the spot several times and came back maybe for the fresh water that came from the burn into the sea.   This was on a caravan site by the beach, they also appeared the next morning too, but not so many of them so may have been different geese.

     EJ's Memorial    Balgavies Loch Ospreys 2021