Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Greylag Goose.

Greylag. Grampian Ringing Group

This Greylag is an example of a collar marked Greylag, it was seen in Grampian twice as well as on the Icelandic breeding grounds the previous year. 

I've found four collar marked Greylag Geese recently, the latest on Aldcliffe Marsh 2 December when two individuals were with up to 300 Greylag Geese, I think if I'd put a little more time into it I would have found more, the other two were at Conder Green on 9 September when fifteen bird's were present.

These four bird's were all collar marked on 25 June this year at Ambleside in Cumbria, the Aldcliffe bird's have previously been sighted at The Snab in the Lune Valley in August, and at Aldcliffe Marsh in October and November. 

Each year the flight and tail feathers of Greylag Geese are shed simultaneously, rendering the birds flightless for a few weeks of the year (between June-July). Being flightless during this time the birds are quite vulnerable so during the moulting period the birds withdraw at this critical time to safe areas, usually secluded lakes and meres. If these areas are not met within the immediate vicinity, the birds make a pre-moult shift to areas further away. This has in some cases resulted in a mass transfer of individuals in a fixed direction towards localised moulting places.

The aim of this marking project is to increase the understanding of goose moult migrations both within and outside of Cumbria, to help determine...
  • The extent to which geese moulting in Cumbria are the same individuals that breed in the area.
  • To get a better understanding of where birds moulting in Cumbria are originating from outside of the moulting season.
  • The extent to which the same individuals return to the same areas to breed and moult each year.
In order to achieve this, a sample of Greylag Geese have been fitted with uniquely coded plastic neck collars during the moulting period. Neck collars are a safe marking method for large geese and have been used widely in previous studies on species such as the migratory Pink-footed Goose and White-fronted Goose, allowing individuals to be identified when on water as well as on land.

I'm grateful to Kane Brides at WWT for his usual obliging and quick response to my submission of these records, and he ask's if we see any of these marked Greylag that we would forward them to him at   

Stonechat Gary Jones  

It was good to hear of a female Stonechat with the Wrampool Linnets yesterday, record much appreciated and sent to me by AC. The perfect excuse for another image on Birds2blog of this little beauty from Gary Jones. Thanks also to Noushka Dufort for the new header.


Richard Pegler said...

I'm not usually a fan of ringing, Pete, especially when some ringers seem to regard it as a trophy sport, rather than a means to knowledge. I'd usually be horrified by seeing a goose with a collar like that, but I'm so pleased that you took the time to explain the underlying project, which I now feel totally justifies the collar. Thank you.

Best wishes - - - Richard

Pete Woodruff said...

Appreciate your comments here Richard, but don't want to go too far down the road on this one.

Your comment makes sense on both sides of the fence on the ringing issue, but one guy just read this post - don't worry I know every move he makes with my spyware - who dumped me off his website 'cos of some of the things I said about ringing....End of discussion.

Noushka said...

I appreciate the banner Pete!!
Like Richard, I don't like to see birds with rings or collars, and I am not sure the "excuses" are good enough these days.
Following the species migrations has been done, and Greylag geese are not a threatened species, at least in France.
But well, it's question of point of view!
Keep well, I hope you still enjoy sunny days :)
Kind regards,

PS: please don't call me Dufort, it's not my real name, Noushka will do!! Thanks ;-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Noushka....Thanks for comments, and I've made a note of your P.S.

Noushka said...

Thanks Pete :)
Enjoy your day!