Families who flock to a north-east loch this weekend will get the chance to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles – tens of thousands of birds in flight.
The RSPB, who look after the Loch Strathbeg conservation area, are inviting people along to a family-fun day to celebrate the migrations of pink-footed geese.
A staggering 64,655 were counted at the reserve last week – the highest number in nine years.
The birds nest in Iceland and Greenland in the spring and summer and head south for the autumn.
Up to 30% of the world’s population will stop at Loch Strathbeg.
RSPB Scotland’s Craig Shepherd said: “I’m delighted that so many geese have returned to Loch of Strathbeg in time for our Goose Fair this weekend.
There will be local craft stalls and plenty of family activities and face-painting fun.
“I hope people stay afterwards to watch as the geese return to roost at the loch too.
“It really is a must-see wildlife experience.”
Pink-footed geese have a predictable routine, sleeping at the loch and feeding on nearby farmland during the day.
The Goose Fair is on Saturday October 11 from 10 am until 4pm at the RSPB visitor centre. Goosewatch events are planned throughout November.
The loch is a surprisingly recent creation, formed in 1720 by a huge storm which hit the area.
There are nearly 600 different species of birds, mammals and insects on the reserve.
A local goose management group offers funding to farmers who incur costs by allowing geese to graze on their land.
The pink-footed goose migration delays turnout for livestock and can reduce silage yields.