Wednesday, 19 March 2014


I remember back in the 1980's when we visited Shetland for the first time it seemed strange to see no geese. We had to wait until the mid 1990's before we got a glimpse of a Greylag on Unst and from there its been a massive expansion with Greylags now settling in most parts of Shetland. Its not uncommon to see twenty of thirty birds with young around Clumlie in the breeding season.

Unlike the birds found in England , Shetland has genuine wild birds from Iceland, but they still cause damage and farmers in the south mainland are suffering from the amount of geese feeding in the fields. As there an no natural predators, other than perhaps the odd otter taking young or eggs left at an unattended nest, numbers are now extremely high and need controlling.
 A recent census by the Shetland Bird club revealed at least 5,000 individuals which are resident and a wintering population of over 7,250

Last year in June we also saw a Canada Goose down at Sumburgh Farm, only the second one we have seen. In South Yorks and Derbyshire numbers have been controlled for a number of years now, not be shooting but by making sure eggs are destroyed. In the 1990's I took part in a wild fowl count down at Rothervalley CP and noted that 500 birds, with some birds moving between Clumber Park , another strong hold.

 At that time only around a dozen Grey lag would be present but now these numbers have swelled to around a 100

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