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The RSPB has an excellent website that can be very useful for identifying geese in West Dunbartonshire. Many migrate. Geese from Greenland, Svalbard and Iceland visit Scotland in internationally important numbers every winter. Large numbers in a field can be an amazing spectacle. But bad news for farmers. The Nature Scot website gives advice on managing them. 

Anyway here in West Dunbartonshire with a less crop based agriculture than elsewhere we can simply enjoy them.

The main types that we encounter are the Barnacle Goose, the Canada Goose and the Greylag Goose.

RSPB : An excellent identification website : https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/ducks-geese-and-swans/

CANADA GEESE : Branta canadensis

Although not as large as the Greylag Goose, it is nevertheless rather a large bird with distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch. They should not be confused with the barnacle goose. Having been introduced species from North America, it has successfully spread to cover most of the UK. It forms noisy flocks and is often regarded as a nuisance in areas where large numbers occur on amenity grassland and parks. Although it does congregate in large flocks which arrive and depart seasonally in specific locations, it is considered a permanent resident. 

They eat roots, grass, leaves and seeds.

A mature Canada goose.

This appears to be an immature Canada goose. The colouration is not yet quite as distinctive. (Photo taken at Brodie Castle).


Resting the legs, one at a time.

Hey. You looking at me?

Good place to see them : Carman Reservoir.

GREYLAG GOOSE : Anser anser

If they look rather like domestic geese, thet is because they are considered their ancestor. They are the largest and bulkiest of the wild geese native to the UK and Europe. In many parts of the UK where numbers were dropping it has been re-established by releasing birds in suitable areass. Many such birds, as in the picture below, no longer migrate, but wintering flocks may join them. Large numbers together can be truly impressive. Those that stay can become rather tame.

Thet eat grass, roots, cereal leaves and spilled grain. 

Greylag geese are listed in Schedule 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, meaning they can be killed or taken outside of the close season.

While many Greylag Geese migrate, some have decided to settle as here at the Carman Reervoir.

This resident greylag is top goose at Carman Reservoir and keeps everyone from other geese to fishermen and walkers in order.

A greylag gooes eating grass. It systematically swings its head from side to side like a scythe biting as it goes.

Good place to see them : Carman Reservoir.

NATURE SCOT website : https://www.nature.scot/search?query=geese

RSPB : https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/ducks-geese-and-swans/

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