Saturday, 14 March 2015

Beanie visit

Being a Saturday birding wasn’t really on the cards although I had hoped a family bike ride along Akerselva up to Maridalsvannet would give some birds and as we ate our picnic I was hoping to see a soaring Buzzard or some other birds of prey in the sunny weather but had to content myself with a Raven. My mobile rang and I saw it was an English number. I was half expecting to hear an Indian woman from “Microsoft” or an aggressive American voice offering me investment advice but it was Larry Griffin from WWT and one of the men behind the tagging of the Scottish Bean Geese. He had taken a trip to southern Sweden to try to download some data from radio tagged Bewick’s Swans and had ended up on a roadtrip and with time on his hands was heading for Norway and the Beanies. Would I be able to meet him? Of course. We agreed to meet in Årnes and I headed home and jumped in the car.

I thought I would take a minor detour to check the field where we had the geese yesterday and there they were so we would not need to waste time locating them. I rang Larry who was nearly at Årnes, explained how to find me and the geese and 15 minutes later he arrived. Larry’s hope was to download data from “04” the bird with a yellow leg ring and which has a radio collar rather than a GPS collar. The batteries on the radio collars last longer as they do a lot less work than the GPS collars (which have all given up the ghost) so the hope was to download 5 months worth of data (after a download in October). Unfortunately despite being only 200-250m from the bird which should have been close enough Larry could not make contact so it looks like this battery has also packed up.
Counting the birds was as usual difficult due to the high stubble and undulating terrain but we both counted 145 and this seemed a good number so I began to doubt my 154 from yesterday. However I took pictures over the whole flock whilst they were all standing alert and on the PC counted exactly 154 birds!
a presumed family group in flight. The bird in the middle is 7U. Note how the bird on the left has a seriously damged left wing. The result of gun shot?

that damaged wing

it must be difficult for this birds to fly the long distances required of it

Larry and radio receiver

the flock is on the field edge to the left of Larry

here we see "04" which unfortunately didn't transmit any data


  1. Brilliant stuff Simon - really pleased you and Larry had the chance to meet up. Good to see photos of the state of the art tracking technology (plus broom handle and twig!!!) being deployed in Norway!!

  2. Thanks Brian. It was fun having Larry visiting and he is now the third international "guest" I and the geese have had after yourself and Thomas from Germany. Just a real shame the data didn't download.