Thursday, 28 February 2013

Spring coming and Bean Geese too with luck

The first two months of 2013 have now passed and winter is finally loosening its grip on Norway and the heat of the sun is now noticeable during the day although the nights can still be bitterly cold.

My year list so far is only 97 species compared to 117 at the same time last year. I was probably a bit more focused on my year list in 2012 whereas this year I have not used so much effort on species I know I will see easily later in the year but the difference also reflects the fact that there was much greater variety last winter. Last year for example I had three species of diver but none this year and last winter was milder so there were more scarce wintering species which have been absent this year.

March will see a number of new species and I am looking forward to the geese and swan migration which will start around mid month and hopefully I will catch up with the Bean Goose (sædgås) flock again. Last year I was lucky enough to read the neck rings on some of these birds and they turned out to be from the small and isolated Scottish wintering population, see here. The birds had been ringed to find out their migration route but most importantly their breeding grounds. Unfortunately my sighting was the only record outside of Scotland so the riddle has not yet been solved. This winter though Carl Mitchell from WWT has mounted GPS tags on four birds in Scotland so they should be able to solve the riddle once and for all.
The birds have already left Scotland and are currently fattening up in northern Denmark. Their locations can be followed on this website. Fascinating stuff!


  1. Excellent stuff. I am involved with the Slamannan Plateau Bean Goose and cannot tell you how good it was last year when you saw the neck-collared birds in Akershus.

    Hopefully the tracking devices will reveal way more this time!

    I would even be tempted to come and catch up with the geese - and any supporting cast - if circumstances allowed.

    Brian Minshull

    1. Brian, you are more than welcome to come over and catch up with them. This area of Norway offers some decent birding at the end of march. It was very exciting for me when I was able to read the rings last year and discover they were the Scottish birds but of course the excitment must have been FAR greater for you guys who had actually put the rings on and were waiting patiently for a sighting.