I ddarllen y blog yma yng Nghymraeg cliciwch yma os gwelwch yn dda.
You may remember the tagged Greenland white-fronted geese story in 2016, the amazing journey they undertook from Greenland to Ireland and back, via the Dyfi Estuary, before then setting off from north Wales on a Sunday night, and reaching staging grounds in Iceland on the Monday night. We’ve now come full circle and we’re eagerly awaiting their arrival back in Wales - and hopefully, on the Dyfi Estuary.
Image: Rachel Stroud. Greenland white-fronted geese can be seen in the distance. Springtime, Iceland.
Having tracked these majestic birds throughout the summer, the data we’ve gathered has unearthed a lovely story. Having left Iceland for Greenland at the beginning of May, the geese spent the summer in their native-land before journeying back to Iceland. The data from the tags shows us that one bird - WHIT01 by her scientific tagging name - is known to have sat patiently on a nest in Greenland for roughly four weeks.
This indicated that this particular goose had successfully bred, and towards the end of the summer confirmation came Greenland white-fronted geese expert, Tony Fox, located WHIT01 in Iceland and confirmed that’s she’s since welcomed four beautiful goslings.
Although our second goose, WHIT02, had initially settled down on a nest, she seemingly gave up after around a week., suggesting her breeding attempt was sadly unsuccessful this year.
We’ve been able to gather this vital data thanks to £24,000 worth of funding from Welsh Government, to the Wales Greenland white-fronted geese partnership*. In 2016 we were able to start taking crucial steps to protect the Greenland white-fronted geese’s future in Wales, as we oversaw a tagging process to discover where the geese were foraging and roosting while they are with us on the Dyfi.
Images: Andy Hay, rsp-images.com. Greenland white-fronted geese.
The partnership is ecstatic with the data gathered so far, and we’ve also picked up on some quirky behaviours. We’ve discovered that the Dyfi flock stay together in Wales, but seem to split up as soon as they leave. This would therefore suggest Wales’ wintering birds are probably not a tight knit group upon leaving Wales.
We’ve found that our tagged geese seem to have developed a fond friendship with our fellow-tagged Greenland white-fronts from Scotland. Both groups staged together in the same area on the south coast of Iceland, setting up camp just fields apart from each other, as friendly neighbours. The geese’s preferred breeding habitat in Greenland is very similar to higher ground in Wales. The habitat has rolling hills, fresh water bodies and the main vegetation is dwarf willow.
Over the coming weeks, we look forward to welcoming back our tagged birds, along with their young goslings. The data we’ve been able to gather so far has been essential in our hope of discovering more about these wonderful migrating birds. Yet, there is still much to discover in order to safeguard a bright future for Greenland white-fronted geese in Wales. We cannot wait to find out what further surprises our tagged birds have in store for us.
* Alongside RSPB Cymru, the partnership includes Welsh Government, The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Mick Green, Natural Resources Wales, The British Association for Shooting & Conservation and the Dyfi, Mawddach and Dysynni Wildfowlers Association.