Friday, 14 November 2014

So, Where Have We All Been....??!!

Apologies to all of you who have been trying to follow the blog, and thought we'd all migrated ourselves!! Unfortunately, this may happen from time to time, either because there is nothing meaningful to report, or more likely because we have been busy (or like to think we have been!!).
In this case we have been doing things on three fronts:

Looking for potential catch sites:

One possibility which was being actively researched was this site at Mill Bay on the County Down side of Carlingford Lough. A local farmer dumps potatoes on the edge of the mudflats, and the geese can't resist the chance to come in and "scobe" at them - not sure whether this is a "Norn-Iron" (Northern Ireland) speciality word , but it means scraping (and chewing off bits) at them with their bills to eat.

We have tried here before, but not been successful, and again the lack of time to "recce" the site, which is not very close to any of our houses, seems to have beaten us, as numbers had halved from the original [220] on 01 November, when this photo was taken, down to 124 a week ago, and today there were only about a dozen. But this illustrates the importance of very regular "recce" work - the birds have very much got choice on where they are using, and it's a VERY small net!!

Ring-reading on Strangford Lough:

Again I have highlighted in an earlier blog the need to try and read marked birds amongst the massive flocks, as they pass through Strangford Lough. The statistics as I write this blog are, I think, impressive, as a core team of us (added to, of course, by casual records from many of you, which are always useful and valuable) have amassed 2,653 records of 936 individual birds, which is way above what we had managed by this stage last winter. Overall, the resighting figures this year to date are 3,038 and 1,100 respectively, so well done everyone!

Brent Goose Census:

Rather later than normal, the annual autumn Census was taking place last weekend. This has meant that birds have been much more dispersed than usual, but, thanks to all of you who responded to a VERY late call, it looks like we have been able to do a proper co-ordinated "snap-shot" across the wintering range in November. This is possibly the first specific brent survey for that month. Results are still being collated, but watch this space when we have finalised on this!

Sorry again for the gap in blog. If any of you have anything you'd like covered, please just let us know!!

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