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Record number of barnacle geese arrive in Dumfries and Galloway

Barnacle geese are black and white birds with a call that sounds like a barking dog Photo: RSPB

Record numbers of barnacle geese have arrived in Dumfries and Galloway this autumn to stay for the winter.

The geese have been recorded at the Mersehead RSPB nature reserve, rising from a peak count of 10,035 last year to 11,070 in October.

Credit: RSPB

The birds spend winter at sites along the Solway, and are a sign that the population continues to grow after a decrease in numbers following the Second World War.

Barnacle geese are black and white birds with a call that sounds like a barking dog.

Credit: PSPB

They stay at sites around the Solway before returning to their Arctic breeding grounds 2,000 miles away in Svalbard in the spring.

Credit: RSPB

The warden at Mersehead RSPB reserve said:

It’s great to see the geese back, and fantastic to see the population doing so well.

We always look forward to seeing them on the reserve, and when you hear them coming in, you know that autumn has well and truly arrived.

We see the leucistic geese every year, and although they’re in very small numbers, they really stand out. We get loads of questions from our visitors about them, and people often think they’ve seen snow geese.

They’re very beautiful, and it’s a real treat to spot them.”

– Rowena Flavelle, RSPB Scotland