We received this update from Ben Mitchell, assistant warden at the RSPB Mersehead reserve..
"We now have a staggering 12,210 Barnacle geese (this is the second highest count ever and rising!) and a whopping 2,200 Pink-footed geese (highest EVER count!) Due to the good coverage that the barnacle geese are receiving on Autumnwatch (live feeds from Caerlaverock WWT reserve just across the Nith from us) you might be asked where people can go to see these fantastic birds and as you can see there is only one answer-Mersehead! Incidentally I believe their latest count was a mere 7000-pah!" :)
For further details and contact information please visit the Mersehead pages on the main website!
To witness the goose spectacle for yourself, you can attend a Goosey Gander walk at Mersehead. These are running each Thursday until 29 October from 11am - 1pm. The walks are free but booking is essential. For more information call 01387 780 579.
Winter arrivalsThe past few days have seen droves of redwings and fieldfares moving into the country for the winter months, generating a few calls reporting "loads of thrushes eating the fruit off my trees!". The winter migrant starlings have also started to arrive. These will join with our resident breeding birds and form huge roosting flocks. Large numbers of geese will spend the winter in the UK so watch out for the V shaped skeins heading south.
Are you still here?
We've still had calls from concerned folk that swallows have remained near the nest long after the rest of the family have gone! It is normal to still sight swallows in October, although the vast majority have now gone. Late broods still need to build up strength before commencing their southerly movement. It will perhaps be a tricky journey one they'll inevitably attempt to take though.. We have also received some great photos of wheatears, which are now on their way out through the UK to Africa. These birds breed mainly in upland areas but can be seen in many places en route to their wintering sites.
More than 100 rare birds have been found dead in Malta by conservationists. The 137 protected birds, including marsh harriers and herons, were found on a rubbish heap in an operation involving 40 autumn migration birdwatchers from BirdLife Malta, which is an international partner of the RSPB on the islands. Millions of migratory birds are ruthlessly slaughtered on their way to their breeding grounds in Europe. More than 100 species are being illegally killed.Malta is one of the very worst offenders. The island is an important resting place for birds migrating over the Mediterranean, but during spring and autumn, hunters blast birds out of the skies in incredible numbers.
If we get calls from people who want to tell the Maltese what to do with their illegal bird killing, our International department is wanting to target the Maltese prime minister.
Lawrence Gonzi Prime Minister of Malta Office of the Prime Minister Auberge de Castille, Valletta VLT1061 Malta
BirdLife Malta welcomes overseas members. Your donation will help support BirdLife Malta, the island's wild bird conservation body, so they can monitor the situation, pass evidence to law enforcement agencies, and teach future generations to cherish the island's wild birds.
See Birdlife Malta website for updates and other information. http://www.birdlifemalta.org/