Of course it's not just the geese which are heading north. Many of our estuaries are already severely depleted of birds which have headed north-east to the continent (e.g. Bar-tailed Godwits) or Iceland as their final destination or en route further north.
In the interests of balance, as all of us folk are united in an interest in migration, here is a picture of a colour-ringed Sanderling, a picture I took over the winter in Quilty, west Clare. I still have to send this record to Jeroen. Wader colour combinations are much more complex than goose rings as there are above- and below tarsus locations, two legs (hopefully), flags and colour sequences. Nightmare...
The individual we caught (see picture below) is ...wait for it.... G3WGRW, ringed by Gunnar Þór Hallgrímsson and Jeroen Reneerkens at Sandgerði in SW Iceland - a little stretch of beach which is the focus of this long-term study of Sanderling.
Last weekend (25th March) we caught G3WGRW amongst 74 Sanderling at Quilt, mass 58g, and Jeroen has kindly supplied the following background details for your perusal:
Caught Sandgerði, SW Iceland 26th May 2007; female, mass 71g.
and subsequent observations summarised as follows:-
Quilty, W Clare Feb/Mar 2009
Quilty, W Clare Jan/Mar 2010
Northumberland July 2010
Kilkee, W Clare Nov 2010
Inishmore Isl, Galway Nov 2011
Quilty, W Clare Feb/Mar 2012
Worth keeping a keen eye out for ringed Sanderlings and when they pause their busy little legs noting down their leg colour ring combinations (a good digital photograph can often help). Jeroen's project, like our own, benefits enormously from observations from folk throughout the flyway. Details of the project are here: http://www.waderstudygroup.org/res/project/sanderling.php and the general webpages provide details on how to record colour marks.