On the two visits to Myroe this month there have been up to 1500 Pale-bellied Brent Geese feeding on the turf lawns and quite a number of colour ringed birds amongst them. I was more successful on my second visit when I found 11 combinations within 5 minutes amongst c700 birds at close range. There were probably the same number again that I didn't clinch but unfortunately they flushed. These birds are usually fitted with one coded colour ring on each leg or a combination of colour rings.
The birds originate from the East Canadian High Arctic flyway population (c38-40,000 birds) and breed in the very far north of Canada. The majority overwinter in Ireland but a number head to western and southern Britain, the Channel Islands, northern France and transit through Greenland and Iceland. Since the project started in 2001 there have been over 4,700 geese ringed across Ireland, Iceland and Canada and records top the 10,000 mark each year! Hats off to the Irish Brent Research Group for the fantastic work they do and particularly Graham for processing the sightings
- for more details check out their blog - http://irishbrentgoose.blogspot.co.uk/
I've added the details of five of the Brent and 2 Greylags below and will follow up with the remaining Brent in another pot soon.
2TWR (born pre 2013) was originally ringed in Seltjarnarnes/Golfvöllur in southwest Iceland on the 18th of May 2014 and has been recorded 14 times since, including along Lough Foyle over the past three winters. It was recorded back in Iceland three times in late spring 2016.
At Fair Head the target species were the Greylag Geese with a portion of these being local breeding feral birds. I found 183 birds in small flocks with two bearing orange coded neckbands plus an almost pure white leucistic bird. Both birds had been ringed in the Western isles of Scotland on Islay.
NDD (yellow) was ringed on the 11th of November 2011 as a juvenile female and now appears to be resident on Rathlin Island/Fair Head.
NCL (green) was ringed on the 21st of January 2015 as a juvenile. It was recorded with a brood in its first summer on Colonsay to the north but returned to Islay for the winter. It was first recorded in Northern Ireland on the first of February this year.
Greylag Geese NDD (yellow) & NCL(green)