Friday, 29 April 2016

Icelandic conditions in Ireland

The sudden cold snap has no doubt left our arriving summer migrants wondering if they've perhaps made a sea crossing too far; for our Brent, well a bit of ice and snow is familiar territory. But, aside from the length of the days one could be forgiven for thinking it was February or March!

As expected numbers of Brent at many of our sites have significantly dropped away in the last few weeks and the recent high pressure and slack winds were the catalyst for that. These last few weeks into early May mean it's the end of the 2015/16 chapter for Brent Geese in Ireland.

Shortly the Brent team will, for just about the tenth successive year, be in the staging grounds in Western Iceland: reading rings, downloading GPS data from the Dublin-tagged birds (which will give us information on the timing, route and duration of the migration from Dublin to Iceland), studying behaviour and rates of energy gain and catching and marking more birds.

Thanks to all for contributing your valuable sightings this year to Graham and for helping with cannon-netting catches. And thanks of course to Graham for his unwavering hard work at reading lots of rings himself, communicating with the large volunteer network and so many hours under desk lamp processing records. Our dataset is near-unique, has enormous benefits for understanding so many aspects of the ecology of this flyway population and each and every contribution is valuable.

Watch this space for further updates from the Iceland end of things as this last spring chapter unfolds.

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