If you’re visiting Islay between mid-September and the third week of April, it’s impossible to miss the island’s staggeringly large wintering population of barnacle and white-fronted geese. During this period, the geese dominate the landscape, feeding incessantly off the rich pasture, strolling by the shores, and flying in formation across the winter skies. You can see the geese just about anywhere on the island – there are an estimated 15,000 white-fronted and 40,000 barnacles here (and rising) – though in the evening, they tend to congregate in the tidal mud flats and fields around Loch Gruinart.

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