Friday, 13 April 2012

Tagged bird finally reaches Hvanneyri!

Hi folks. Another non-brent update on Greenland white-fronts from Hvanneyri, Iceland. It has been a very busy week as more team members arrived, including Kerry Mackie, for catching. After a frustrating first couple of days, Kerry and the team caught seven white-fronts yesterday. Catching during early and mid-April will be essential in determining arrival condition in Iceland. Because of the mild spring (and winter), most white-fronts appear to be in exceptional shape. In fact, we've looked at data from previous years (to the early 80s) and thus far, birds seem to be ahead by two weeks! They've put on so much weight already, many sleep the day away in the fields...almost unheard of for geese in Iceland during spring!

Another exciting piece of news. Alyn Walsh, Larry Griffin, and I put on 20 GPS/accelerometer tags at wintering sites in Ireland and Scotland this winter. The tags take one GPS fix/day and record a behavioural trace every six minutes. Tags are meant to last just over one year to cover the entire annual cycle. On Wednesday, Rich Price (Exeter MSc student) spotted the first tagged bird here in Hvanneyri! T3U (pictured) was collared/tagged on 12 March 2012 in Wexford, Ireland. I've only started to scan through the behavioural traces, but there is much to be gained even from just one month of data! It looks like he left Wexford 1 April--riding SE winds--flying 17 hours straight, roosting on the Atlantic for the night and reaching the southern coast of Iceland the following day with an additional 9-hr. flight. The next 10 days were spent feeding and making short 3-hr. flights around the southern lowlands (east of Selfoss) before he arrived at Hvanneyri at 10:35 Wednesday morning. It is still early in the staging period, so we're hopeful for the arrival of a few more tagged birds. I'll provide somewhat regular updates as the spring progresses. Beautiful day here (5°C and sunny) so I should get out! More soon!


  1. Great info!

    Looking forward to future updates.

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