24 Mar 2006

"MIGRATION" I will miss the Brent Geese but at the same time be happy that the Swallows will be arriving.

I am now counting the days until the Brent Geese that live in the bay in front of my house leave for their long journey to the Canadian Arctic Tundra ,via Iceland and Greenland.
Brent goose Branta Bernicla
Also known as Dark-bellied brent goose, Light-bellied brent goose,
A small, dark goose . It has a black head and neck and grey-brown back, with either a pale or dark belly, depending on the race. Adults have a small white neck patch. It flies in loose flocks along the coast, rather than in tight skeins like grey geese.

It is an Amber List species because of the important numbers found at just a few sites.

Where does it live? Well It breeds in the arctic tundra with shallow pools, usually near the sea., during the summer months of the Northern Hemisphere and then spends its winters on the Estuaries and shallow coasts with mudflats of the United Kingdom. The main concentrations of dark-bellied birds in the Wash, the North Norfolk coastal marshes, Essex estuaries, the Thames Estuary and Chichester and Langstone Harbours. Most light-bellied birds are found at Strangford Lough and Lough Foyle, N Ireland and at Lindisfarne in Northumberland.

They eat eel grass, which is the main component of their diet and they are filling up at present for their long flight back to their breeding grounds.

In 2002 I sponsored a goose in conjunction with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust . The WWT put transmitters on 6 geese in Iceland and then followed their progress to the Arctic and then back again to Strangford Lough. (Here is their website project address www.wwt.org.uk/brent/brent_goose.asp)

For the last three years they have always left the bay in early april on exactly the same day as the Swallows arrive back from Africa . Swallows are very sensible escaping our cold damp winters.I sometimes wish I could do the same.

I have been unable to blog for the last few days as their was a problem with the local exchange. The problems of wanting broadband in rural areas. Today was the wettest of the year so far however I had tons of Goldfinches to my bird tables, a few siskins, loads of blue tits,great tits, greenfinches and coal tits. At one point I had five dunnocks and some were displaying by beating with one wing.

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