Monday, 15 February 2016

Look out for GPS-collared Brent geese

We had some mixed fortunes trying to catch over the last couple of weeks, but with some successes at Red Arches, Seagrange, Cadbury’s and Seabury. Our main objective was to get the first GPS collars deployed on some geese. These new collars weigh around 15g and are actually lighter than the ID collars that get fitted to species like Greenland whitefronts. They have a small internal battery and an array of tiny solar panels and we are hopeful that they will last for the next couple of years. The collars log GPS positions and we have base stations that upload the data from them (the first data are likely to start coming in autumn 2016). 
We are observing  these birds to ensure the tags are not having any adverse effects on the birds’ behaviour. The collars can look tight, because of the feathers being fluffed out, but all of them have a good couple of centimetres play in them (enough to allow them to hang loose, but tight enough to stop them slipping over the head and bill). We are keen to gather as much information as possible, as this will allow us to go back to BTO and NPWS to get permission to increase the number we are allowed to deploy. As such we would be delighted to receive details of any sightings you make of these birds. They have a unique colour/letter combination with a blue (double character) ring with white engraving on the right leg and an orange ring with black engraving on the left. Please send any information on behaviour, location etc to me (as well as reporting to Graham through the normal channels).