News came in last night of our first Scottish record of the winter. This came from Bob Proctor, who had spotted 36WW from the north-east coast at Lossiemouth, in Moray.
This record is of interest in a couple of ways. First of all, those of us watching the weather forecasts these past few days have noticed a period of rather turbulent winds in that area, and it is therefore likely that this is a bird which has been pushed off its normal flyway route from Iceland, which would be down the west side of Scotland.
Such records are of particular interest, as it brings the birds from "our" Canadian breeding flyway into contact with the normal range of those from the East Atlantic flyway, which breed in Svalbard and Eastern Greenland, and are normally recorded from the east coast of GB (particularly at Lindisfarne, in Northumberland). Indeed, researchers from that flyway have been catching geese on the Moray Firth, just west of this sighting, the reason for which includes looking at this possible interchange. A few of the birds they have ringed there have subsequently been recorded from Ireland.
36WW was ringed as a juvenile, way back in January 2008, as a juvenile male, at Dundrum Bay, County Down, in Northern Ireland, about 10 miles from my house. It bred in 2011, first recorded as having 4 juveniles, but has not since been recorded as a breeder, illustrating the poor productivity we have been experiencing over the past three years. Perhaps another hopeful sign (clutching at straws?!!) for this one? In ideal circumstances, birds appear to breed every other year, as the window of opportunity in Canada is limited, and feeding up the juveniles for migration in spring can hold back the adults.