Protected Brent geese ignore nesting ground set up by Portsmouth council at Castle Field

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The Brent geese at the Tenth Hole Golf Course, Southsea, on Monday, November 30.
Picture: Fiona Callingham
The Brent geese at the Tenth Hole Golf Course, Southsea, on Monday, November 30.
Picture: Fiona Callingham

A flock of protected Brent geese has taken up residence at the Tenth Hole golf course and the cricket field in Southsea – ignoring Castle Field that was fenced off especially for them.

Decoy geese were also installed in the field by Portsmouth City Council in October to entice them to nest there.

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Pictured: Southsea Costal engineering team setting up the fake geese at Castle field in October. Picture: Habibur Rahman

It came as one of their previously used nesting grounds was needed as part of the Southsea Coastal Scheme project that started this autumn.

A Portsmouth City Council spokeswoman said: ‘As part of the Southsea Coastal Scheme, we are using the MoD field as a compound area. This site was previously inhabited by Brent geese so we are legally obliged to provide an alternative site in the near vicinity.

‘Castle Field was identified as the most appropriate site for the refuge area, in conjunction with Natural England.

‘We monitor the Castle Field site weekly and will continue to do so throughout winter, sharing our findings with Natural England.

The Brent geese at the Tenth Hole Golf Course, Southsea, on Monday, November 30.
Picture: Fiona Callingham

‘We are aware of Brent geese on the cricket field, however it must be noted that they tend to move between several sites in Portsmouth and have used Castle Field previously.’

Bill Branson, the owner of the Tenth Hole, said the geese have been returning to the golf course every year for at least the past 10 years.

The 36-year-old said: ‘They probably arrived about two weeks ago.

‘They come here every year, and we’ve been here 10 years now. It doesn’t cause too much of an issue except there’s quite a lot of bird mess that gets walked through the tea rooms if customers have played golf and then come in.’

The Tenth Hole tea rooms and golf course is set to fully re-open this week following the second coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Branson added: ‘The geese don’t stop the golfers. If people are playing golf they generally fly onto the cricket pitch until the golf is finished.’

As reported, the site at Castle Field will be opened up as a public space again in March next year.

It is planned it will be used as a Brent geese refuge every winter until 2026.

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