Sunday 11 December 2011

Thanks so much for kindly submitting the details of H1C, this is a very interesting observation.  You are correct in assuming that this is a Greenland White-fronted Goose, it was ringed as a first winter female at Hvanneyri Agricultural University in western Iceland on 20 April 1999.  We often catch in this area, having carried out a number of studies of the geese there during their 3-4 week stopover in spring. 
She has been a rather extraordinary bird, having shifted between the two major wintering sites in scotland (Islay) and Ireland (Wexford) which is extremely unusualwe do not see very many exchanges of marked birds between these two sites, and we have very few reports of birds that do this sequentially, as these geese tend to be highly site loyal to winter quarters. I cannot offer an explanation for why some birds buck the trend, but it makes things more interesting!! 
There seem to have been a lot of dispersed Greenland White-fronted Geese this autumn: Iceland had an extraordinarily mild season and many geese remained there until a very cold snap in late November forced the last birds out.  At the beginning of this month quite a few showed up in Norway, we think the result of the late stayers being caught out in unfavourable and strong winds from the west.  Numbers at many winter resorts in mid November were 60-80% what we would expect, so many geese are still making their way back to their traditional wintering sites. It could well be that H1C was simply en route to Wexford when you found her!

Very best wishes
Tony Fox
Aarhus University

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