A few days ago the Scotsman published a rather sensational story about the wintering geese on Islay who are to arrive on the island any time now. Most parties agree, after extensive talks at a conference held on Islay last year, that something needs to be done about the ever growing and grass consuming population of Barnacle Geese, and certain measures will be made to control these numbers. The sensational report states that: "DRONES and lasers are set to be deployed by the Scottish Government in a £41m bid to rid an island of its rampaging population of geese. Islay has 70% of the world’s barnacle and white-fronted geese - but the birds are acting like 'a swarm of locusts' according to angry farmers. A report reveals that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has already tried and failed to control the flocks using bizarre methods such as self-launching kites, helium balloons, fireworks and a gas-inflated, siren-blazing ‘scary man’ mannequin. The birds barely paid any notice and SNH is planning a tougher strategy, under pressure from Islay farmers concerned about the damage geese are causing to their £11m-a-year industry."
However, scaring and killing them with drones and laser beams will not take place on Islay, as I'm told by a very trustworthy source on the island. And if there is any controlling and killing to be done, mostly with guns, it will be on the Barnacle Geese population who are, through their ever increasing numbers, pushing out the White-Fronted Geese which have a higher protection status. It will be good news for the farmers on Islay that something will happen to control the numbers and to protect their grass lands. Let's hope for them it won't become a Wild Goose Chase.