Tayside and Central Scotland

Thousands of birds flee after firework scare

Fireworks Image copyright Scottish Wildlife Trust
Image caption Discarded fireworks have also been found on the edge of Montrose Basin

Tens of thousands of pink-footed geese have been scared away from an Angus nature reserve after fireworks were set off there.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust said 42,840 of the birds were recorded at Montrose Basin on Sunday compared to more than 90,000 last week.

The Trust has received several reports of fireworks being let off at Tayock, within the reserve.

Discarded fireworks have also been found on the edge of the basin.

Montrose Basin ranger Anna Cheshier said: "Once the fireworks started, geese numbers went down drastically and much faster than usual.

"We would normally expect their numbers to remain higher for at least a few days, but because the noise started on nights with strong moonlight, the geese would have been encouraged to move on by the disturbance.

"Letting off fireworks on the reserve can cause serious disturbance to any roosting birds and is also a risk to other people who are visiting the area."

Image copyright Scottish Wildlife Trust
Image caption An average of 60,000 pink-footed geese settle in Montrose each year.

The birds travel 745 miles (1,200km) from Iceland and Greenland, and those in Angus make up a quarter of the pink-footed geese currently in the UK.

The geese are counted as part of the Icelandic Breeding Goose Census.

Ms Cheshier said: "The geese use Montrose Basin a bit like a motorway service station.

"It's the first suitable roosting site they arrive at on their migration south from Iceland and Greenland.

"Even though it is really disappointing that numbers have dropped so quickly due to the fireworks, 40,000 pink-footed geese is still an awe-inspiring sight."

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