Monday, 27 March 2017

Ynyslas Ringed Brent Geese

Maybe you remember that, in mid-February, there were 2 ringed Brent Geese at Ynyslas and I reported them to the relevant ringing scheme. I had a very detailed reply from Graham McElwaine of the Irish Brent Goose Research Group which I posted on here at the time. Graham has now updated his records to include the Ynyslas sightings and has also provided some additional information about his research, which I will add below. Graham is interested in any other sightings Ceredigion birders might have had of these birds (ring numbers 77WB and 69WB, with the latter having lost its no. 9 ring) so that he can learn how long they have been in the area. Please forward information directly to him at Thank you! Here is the additional information on Graham's research:

These pale-bellied brent are from the ECHA (East Canadian High Arctic) flyway population. They breed very far north in Canada, and overwinter mainly in Ireland, although some birds, like yours, also go to western and southern GB, the Channel Islands and France (mainly Normandy). They stage for a considerable period in spring and autumn in Iceland, and have a hazardous trip over the Greenland Icecap in between. With two good breeding seasons now, the current flyway population is of the order of 38 - 40,000 birds.
Our current ringing programme commenced in 2001. We ring mainly by canon-netting here in Ireland, and on the spring migration in Iceland in May. Two expeditions have been mounted to catch birds in Canada, in 2007 and 2014. On both occasions, just under 200 birds were caught whilst flightless (herded by helicopter!!). Overall we have now caught just over 4,700 individual geese, so it is well worthwhile checking out any flocks you might come across for leg-rings. Currently resightings are reaching well over 10,000 records per year from the wintering grounds, and a further up to 5,000 from Iceland in spring and autumn.