As part of a study of Pink-footed Geese in Iceland, a total of 386 Pinkfeet were caught and ringed during their annual wing moult in late July 2017. Twenty-two of these were fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) tags mounted on brown plastic neck collars. They were also fitted with a white plastic leg ring with two black characters for ease of recognition in the field. In addition, 68 adult Pinkfeet were fitted with grey plastic neck collars (three black letters) and 47 goslings with white plastic leg rings (three black letters).
The movements of the GPS tagged Pink-footed Geese can be followed here. The goal of the study is to investigate the interaction of migratory Pink-footed Geese with man-made structures in the landscape including wind turbines. In addition, valuable information will be gained on migration phenology and the routes the geese take both within Britain and between Britain and Iceland/Greenland.
Eighty-four Greylag Geese and 41 Barnacle Geese were also caught and newly ringed. Two Greylag Geese were also caught which had been ringed in previous years (re-traps). Three of the Greylag Geese were also fitted with GPS collars, and 69 were fitted with orange plastic collars (three black letters). All 41 Barnacle Geese were fitted with blue plastic leg rings (two white letters separated by a stripe).
Sightings of the these newly ringed geese are especially welcomed and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wintering flocks of geese are always worth checking for colour-marked individuals. The Barnacle Geese are likely to winter on Islay, although observers are encouraged to check any flock of Barnacles seen at any site. The Pinkfeet are itinerant and could turn up anywhere in the wintering range, from Caithness and the Moray Firth in the north, through to Norfolk in the south east, whereas the Iceland Greylag Geese are largely confined to wintering areas in north Scotland, particularly on Orkney. It will be interesting to learn where these marked geese winter.
Special thanks are extended to Tom Clare, Ed Burrell, Alan Leitch, Arnór Þórir Sigfússon, Halldór Walter Stefánsson and several Icelandic helpers who volunteered their time to help with the catching and ringing. The project is supported by DONG Energy.