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Islay Geese

This issue depicts three geese that can be found on Islay:


Barnacle Goose: The Barnacle Goose is rather diminutive and breeds in Greenland, heading to Islay in the winter. It has a rather distinctive cackle. Around 40,000 of these visit Islay every year. During the six months in which the geese are here, they dominate the landscape—especially in the areas around Loch Gruinart and Loch Indaal. Hundreds of geese flying in formation is quite a sight—as also is the view of them congregating in fields and mud flats. Birdwatchers certainly enjoy the seasonal visitors; local farmers less so.


Its name apparently comes from a medieval myth: due to the fact they “disappeared” for half the year and no-one saw them nesting, it was believed that they hatched from either ships’ barnacles or driftwood.


Greylag Goose: There are quite a few Greylags on Islay, but they're not the seasonal visitors that the Barnacles are. Some Greylags have been known to breed in the Hebrides, and I have seen Greylags here in the summer months suggesting they're a local (but not native) population.  They can be found where there is an abundant supply of grass, but also eat small fish and insects.


Canada Goose: These have a large range and winter across North America and Western Europe. On Islay, they tend to arrive within the flocks of Barnacles and White-fronted Geese and are not as common here as the other species. There are a few pairs of breeding Canada Geese that remain on the island all year round.

sheet set

Islay Geese sheet (UM or CTO) - £7.50


Islay Geese set (UM or CTO) - £2.25