The harbours of Dorset are important wintering havens for Brent geese and their arrival in autumn is a sure sign that winter is approaching. There are actually two different races of Brent goose that you can encounter in Dorset, the more common dark-bellied and the much scarcer pale-bellied. The dark-bellied race nest in Siberia and northern Russia and come to the east and south of England to over winter whereas the pale-bellied race are from Greenland and Spitsbergen and mainly spend their winters in Ireland but a small number end up here in Dorset each winter, mainly to the west along the Fleet. Because most tweeted reports do not differentiate between the races I make no attempt to separate them in my database of records.
The weekly reports chart show that small numbers of early arrivals start returning about week 34 in late August but the main return seems to kick off a couple of weeks later in week 36 in September and they are then regularly reported throughout the winter until the following spring when they have mostly all gone by week 17 at the end of April. A very small number of reports come in during the summer months but these are the exception and are probably of the odd bird not fit enough to travel the extreme distance to the breeding grounds.
As with many of our wintering waterfowl species the distribution map shows clusters of reports from Christchurch harbour, Poole harbour and the Fleet with odd passage sightings from other coastal locations. Whilst Ferrybridge has by far the most reports the largest population is certainly in and around Poole harbour where they are seen at nearly all of the disperate sites around the harbour from October until April each winter. They are less common in Christchurch harbour and at other sites up the Fleet.
For the best chance of seeing Brent geese I would suggest the Middlebere channel viewed from the Coombe viewpoint at Arne but at the right state of the tide obviously Ferrybridge is likely to reward you.