Essex is home to some fantastic wildlife spectacles and none more impressive than the migration of the brent geese.
They arrive from their breeding ground in northern Russia and Siberia to feed on the eel grass found along the coastline and recently have moved onto cultivated fields to feed on crops such as wheat, oilseed rape and barley. The Thames Estuary is one of the best places in the country to see the UK`s smallest goose in large numbers, attracting 10,000 geese from a population of roughly 100,000. There is already over 2000 geese that have arrived off the coast around Leigh - on -Sea and there are some great views from Two Tree Island nature reserve
There are three races of goose that visits the UK and Ireland, one race of dark- bellied and two races of pale- bellied. It is the dark-bellied that travels from Russia and Siberia to the Essex coast, the other two races being from Greenland and Spitsbergen and can be found mainly in Ireland.
The brent goose doesn't breed in the UK and only has about 100 days in the Arctic in order to rear a family meaning bad weather or an early winter can have an impact on numbers. Families migrate together and remain together until the following breeding season. The geese have one of the most energetically costly migrations of any waterfowl species, travelling the 8000km between breeding and wintering grounds with some flights involving 3000km of nonstop flying.
Image: David Lee
The RSPB will be at The Peterboat in Leigh on sea to welcome the arrival of these fantastic geese and take the opportunity to enjoy some of the other wildlife that can be viewed from the comfort of a pub garden. Leigh on sea provides great views of wintering waders including dunlin, little egrets and redshanks but don’t just focus on the birds as there is also a chance to catch a view of common seals.
Come and join us at The Peterboat on the weekend of the 13th-15th October, 11am-4pm and find out more about incredible journey of such an impressive bird!