Thursday, 4 September 2014

Taiga Beans

Success today – I found the geese! The bird that had transmitted its position on Tuesday has not transmitted again (battery on its last legs) so I did not know exactly where they were but after two years of data I have a pretty good idea of where they could be. And sure enough at my first stop I saw a small flock peeking out from the edge of a field. Changing position I found the whole flock and from my pictures there were 163 birds. This is roughly the same as last autumn but is less than the number that winters in Scotland so where are the remaining birds? Could it be the same as with the Norwegian breeding Lesser White-fronted Geese (dverggås)  that the non/failed breeders follow a different migration route than the successful breeders with young?

I attempted to get close enough to reed off neck collars through the ‘scope but when I was still at over 500metres range they became wary and flew off. Although I can’t be sure that it was me that scared them they would appear to be unusually wary – illegal hunting?? They flew off to the north and 30 minutes later I found them on their favoured resting grounds at Flakstadmåsan. Here again they were extremely wary and I was not able to read off any collars through the scope (a handful were seen) although when the flock took off I managed some shots that have allowed me to ID three separate birds. The birds flew off North West and I positioned myself where I thought I would be able to see them if they took to the wing later but in two hours of waiting I did not see them again. Raptors showed though and I had Hobby (lerkefalk), Merlin (dvergfalk), Kestrel (tærnfalk), Buzzard (musvåk) and Sparrowhawk (lerkefalk).
the Taiga Bean Goose (taigasædgås) flock feeding on stubble close to the field edge (as usual)

some birds flying off leaving others in the field

resting birds on favoured peat bog which is under threat of drainage

blue ring on right leg. This bird is Tag 06 the bird which did loads of odd things last spring and migrated alone but seems to be still going strong

in the inset are a GPS/radio tagged bird whose leg is hidden such that I can't see the colour ring plus a normal neck collared bird (unable to read the inscription)

yellow ring left leg - this bird has a radio collar that can hopefully download data when it is back in Scotland

the only collar I could read - 6S, which is a bird I have seen many time before


  1. lerkefalk -- is it a Hobby or a Sparrowhawk?

  2. Lerkefalk is Hobby. Thanks for noticing my mistake 😀. Sparrowhawk is spurvehauk.