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06 October, 2017

Pink-footed geese return to Loch Leven

The amazing spectacle of thousands of pink-footed geese returning to Loch Leven national nature reserve is underway and will reach its peak soon.

To showcase this natural wonder, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is offering a free guided walk at dawn on Sunday, 15 October.

The geese returned to Loch Leven in September after another year of breeding in Iceland. Numbers build throughout October, usually to a peak of 15,000 to 20,000. The geese quickly establish a daily feeding routine, moving from the loch to nearby fields each morning. After a long migration, the geese are very hungry, and at this time of year there is plenty of spilt grain from harvested fields to keep them busy.

Neil Mitchell, Loch Leven reserve manager, said:

“Every year, we’re reminded how lucky we are to have such an amazing natural show on our doorstep, and we’re always keen for people to share it with us. The walk will give everyone a chance to walk down to the loch shore with us and see the geese at their most spectacular, as well as see the many types of migratory ducks and large gatherings of both mute and whooper swans.”

The event is free and open to all, but booking is essential as space is limited. Call the reserve office on 01577 864439 to book a place. Walking boots, waterproofs and any binoculars are recommended. The Dawn Goose Walk takes place on Sunday, 15 October from 6.45-8.30am, meeting at the Kirkgate watchtower in Kirkgate Park, Kinross.

For those who can’t make it to the walk, the geese’s evening return to the loch is equally spectacular, with large numbers moving in unison back toward their evening roost sites, giving two chances a day to witness their immense gatherings in flight, and the cacophony of noise they create as they call to their kin. Evening visitors may also see a starling murmuration – a huge flock of birds, which looks like a giant swarm. SNH staff have spotted these from the Kinross Pier recently.

In other developments, SNH has submitted an entry for a prestigious European Natura award for the extensive partnership work involved in the management of Loch Leven. This work has vastly improved Loch Leven’s water quality and encouraged sustainable tourism through both new planning guidance and continued engagement with farmers. The award is to recognise excellence in the management of Natura sites. For more information on the award, see

Loch Leven is Scotland’s largest lowland loch and one of the most important sites for waterfowl in Britain. Its unique environment attracts not only the largest concentration of breeding ducks anywhere in the UK, but also many thousands of migratory ducks, geese and swans every autumn and winter, as well as boasting an interesting variety of wildlife, plants and trees. For up-to-date news and information on geese and other goings on at Loch Leven NNR, visit .

Events like this are part of SNH’s work to help more people experience and enjoy nature, one of the priorities of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.


Media queries

Contact SNH media officer, Vicki Mowat, on 0131 316 2659 or (Tues-Fri) or the SNH main press office on 01463 725 022 (Mondays).

Contact information

SNH Media
Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help people understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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