Sunday, 22 April 2012

A short hiatus from fieldwork, to Norway!

Hi folks,

The regular brent goose updates from Iceland are not far off now! Matt Silk is coming up soon, so will fill this with more exciting news on his birds. In the meantime, what's happening on the white-front side of things? I've been away from fieldwork this week and in Steinkjer, Norway for the 14th meeting of the Goose Specialist Group. It has been a great opportunity to meet new people, network, and discuss other goose research going on in Europe. Wednesday and Thursday were spent listening to researchers such as Ingunn Tombre (Norway), Jesper Madsen (Denmark), and Bart Ebbinge (The Netherlands) as they presented their latest findings. It's great to hear the many angles one can approach work in conservation and ecology, while using arctic-nesting geese as study species. Friday we went on an excursion, which provided a better glimpse of the beautiful Norwegian landscape. We started with a visit to one of the local communities, where a 'Pink-footed Goose Festival' is held each spring (few weeks from now). Greeting us were many school kids, all singing and dressed in their pink-footed best (see attached photo)! It was great to see how the community has embraced this species! We then travelled to the primary roost site for staging Pink-feet in this part of Norway, and were excited to see over 5,000, with more joining every few minutes! After seeing the geese, we met 'The Eagle Man,' who is known for exhibiting local White-tailed Eagles on the west coast of Norway. It was amazing to see as he successfully 'called in' a pair, much to the excitement of the group. We were also shown the eagle nest, which was fun.

Saturday was spent back in the classroom, with great talks by Joel Schmutz (United States), Jouke Prop (The Netherlands), and Bart Nolet (The Netherlands). It's amazing to hear the challenges facing each country represented (19 total) here. While some are having difficulty enforcing hunting regulations, others are working to determine common flyways for potential future regulation/protection. Despite existing networks and inter-agency partnerships, it is clear that we will need increased collaboration and cooperation from all countries involved to ensure best management and healthy goose (and other wildfowl) populations for generations to come. Now back to Hvanneyri to finish up the spring field season! Have really enjoyed my time in Norway, but it's time to get back to business. Will update again as we enter the final staging period before the white-fronts are off to Greenland. Bye for now!

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