Tuesday, 8 May 2018

And, Incredibly, There it Was!!....

I managed to get to Killough Harbour just before mid-day, and there, right on cue, was IJRR!! Or at least, it was a RR bird with I on the right leg - it flew away out of the harbour as I was trying to read the other ring! 😒

It was the only brent goose seen there, and with the back history and other possible combinations, it really can't have been anything else.

Here's wishing it good speed to catch up with all the rest in Iceland, to give it time to recuperate before the onward journey.

On the Slow Boat to Iceland...

This is the story of IJRR, a bird which was ringed in Dublin in February 2014. Until this year, its history has been regular as clockwork, each winter passing through Strangford Lough, Co. Down on its way down to overwinter in Normandy, France, and each spring staging at Killough Harbour in Co. Down, on its way back to Iceland.

This winter it has been recorded as limping by most who have seen it, at Strangford Lough, briefly at Baldoyle, near Dublin, and then at Regneville in Normandy.

Last recorded at Regneville by Philippe Lemarinel on 03 April, the bird was next spotted at St. Aubin's Bay in Jersey, on 09 - 10 April by Caroline Orpin, in a flock of 61 geese.

Next record, from Jean Brown and Judy Down, came from another Channel Island - the tiny island of Herm, just to the east of Guernsey, a first ever record from there:

By this time the bird was solitary, as all the records have been since then.

It next surfaced at the Devon Wildlife Trust reserve at Dawlish Warren, which is at the mouth of the River Exe estuary, recorded from the hide there on 05 May by Lee Collins:

A day later, 06 May, it had shifted up the estuary to the River Clyst mud-bar, where it was recorded from the RSPB Bowling Green Marsh Nature Reserve viewing platform by David Boult.

Clearly realising that it needed to get on the move, yesterday, 07 May, it was seen on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, at the Gann, by Derek Grimwood:

Derek has been out at the Gann again this morning, and IJRR has gone.

The Irish Sea has been afflicted by fog over the past number of days, but today seems clearer. I must get out and check Killough Harbour.........................

Friday, 4 May 2018

Another of Our Birds Ends up on the Faroe Islands...

Following on from our first ever record (last spring) of one of our marked birds turning up on the Faroe Islands, another one has now been reported from there two days ago by Karl Thomsen, who took this photo.

This bird, AANW in our speak, where N stands for noir (black) was the first bird ringed at the series of catches at Dundrum, County Down, Northern Ireland in early February this year. These catches involved nearly 100 geese, and it is perhaps of interest that, whilst the vast majority of those have since been regularly re-sighted, generally around Dundrum, or at nearby Killough Harbour, this is the first ever record for this bird!
So, what is likely to become of this bird, which was in a flock of sixteen? It is comforting that the bird recorded from the Faroe Islands last spring, on 14 April 2017, H6WR, was subsequently recorded from Iceland a fortnight later, and this winter has been back in the Dublin area, which is its usual wintering site. So, hopefully AANW will be able to make a similar adjustment, in time to enable it to make the onward journey to the breeding grounds in High Arctic Canada. Our regular team who are poised to visit Iceland in a week's time will certainly be looking out for it!!
News at Dundrum today from David Nixon is that there are still around 50 geese present, including several birds marked at the same catch as AANW. Dundrum is regularly one of the latest sites in Ireland to hold brent geese in the spring, but even these are likely to have moved on to Iceland within the next week.