Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Colour-ringed and neck-collared geese

There have been unusual numbers of geese around in the last few weeks, with European White-frontedGeese, Tundra Bean Geese, Pink-footed Geese and several other species joining the usual Greylags. In amongst all these new arrivals have been two birds with neck collars. Rory Tallack found a White-fronted Goose at Sandness on Sunday 20th November (photo by Rory Tallack).It was probably marked in its wintering grounds in Germany or the Netherlands.

On Monday 21st November, Jim Nangle found a Pink-footed Goose at Cullivoe on Yell (photo by Jim Nangle). Although the full code on the collar has not been read yet, it has been confirmed that this is a bird from Svalbard which should have been migrating down through Norway and Denmark to the Netherlands or Belgium for the winter. This is a very interesting record as the Pink-feet that pass through Shetland are usually from Iceland. Although given the the fact that the other geese that arrived at the same time all came from the east, perhaps it isn't that surprising that the Pink-feet came from the same direction.

It is alo worth pointing out that a small number of locally-bred Greylag Geese were fitted with either colour-rings or neck-collars this summer, in a attempt to find out whether local birds emigrate in the winter, Any sightings of these birds, which were marked in Dunrossness, would be welcome.