Sunday, 27 October 2013

Birds at Islandhhill, Newtownards

Now I am starting day 3 of my birding with Eileen and our first stop was just outside Newtownards at Islandhill on Strangford Lough.  I wanted Eileen to see some of the thousands of Pale bellied Geese that had arrived from Arctic Canada.  Unfortunately the tide was right out, however we walked out onto a causeway to another Island and although the birds were a great distance away, we watched though our telescopes as they feed continuously. 
 

The Brent Goose is also known as Brant.  The spelling 'Brant' is the original one, with Brent being a later folk - etymological idea that is was derived from a classical Greek water bird name brenthos.


I took these 2 photos to show you the causeway we were standing on and the great distance the geese were at.  See them if you can!!


These are the best of the photos for you to see.  Don't worry, I will have more photos as the geese stay with us for quite a while. 


 Brent geese have a highly developed salt gland that
allows them to drink salt water.


They have the shortest tail of any goose.


 A group of geese has many collective nouns, including a
 'cheveron', 'gaggle', 'knot', and 'skein'.




As we were watching the geese, we became aware that some geese had tags on both legs and we spent quite a long time trying to ID them.  We had both telescopes up at full distance and confirmed with each other 2 of the geese and 4 others with the colour of the tags but were just unable to see the letters and numbers.  It was very frustrating as there is lot of research goes into these geese.  When I came home I sent the information on to the relevant person and below I thought you would like to see the results.



 
VFry - Ringed on 29th April 2009 in a field about 10 minutes S of Reykjavik, Iceland. At that time an adult female with 2 young.
In Ireland we've seen this bird approximately 30 times in the period. The last record I have was in September 2011 at Strangford. In Iceland we've seen it at a location where 5-7000 birds spend a month or so in springtime, that's approx 1 hour drive N of Reykjavik.

Use of Strangford seems restricted to autumn passage and based on multiple observations in mid and late winter (2009/10 and 2010/11 winters) the bird seems to use the south Wexford coast as its wintering location - Bannow Bay and surrounds.
V9wb - Quite different, this is a bird we ringed in Castlemaine, Co. Kerry in March 2009. An adult male. Up to spring 2011 we've seen this bird 25-30 times. The emerging pattern for the movements of this bird seems to suggest that it uses L Foyle or Strangford on autumn passage and has generally disappeared until early spring when in two years running at the bird has moved north it has used Dundrum Bay (Co. Down) Feb / April. We've also seen it in western Iceland in spring (using the same area as the bird above N of Reykjavik)

This is the only one tagged goose I could get a photos of although not a very good photo.  I find the details regarding these geese is amazing and it certainly will want me to try and see and spot more geese with tags.


When I have time, (probably on some Saturday post) I will show you previous photos of the Pale bellied Brent, giving you some information on them, how they tag them, where they go after leaving Ireland, where they nest and about the rearing of their young.  Well now that I think about this, it may take more than 1 post!!!  We shall see.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this post and perhaps it has wet your appeitite to hear more about these wonderful geese. 

Just before I finsih, I will leave you with a short video taken that day.

It can be accessed at

http://youtu.be/gy1rCSHuJCk

There was a lot of wind both for taking stills and video and it might be difficult hearing what I say on the video.

If there is a black space below,click it and the video will appear.




I hope you enjoyed this post.

Thank you for visiting any of the posts and I appreciate all your comments.

36 comments:

  1. brent/brant - they're very cute. drinking salt water - amazing!

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    1. HI Tex Yes it's amazing. Glad you liked the Brent and thanks for comment.

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  2. How interesting. Just lovely! Have a great afternoon.

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    1. HI BL Glad you found this post interesting. Thanks for comment.

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  3. Thank you for such an interesting and informative post Margaret. As you say the geese have a lot to tell us when they are marked in that way. You are not too far away from me acros the Irish Sea but we don't see too many brents, pale or dark. Guess they're all with you.

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    1. HI EC I take it you enjoyed the post and I am so glad. We are very proud of our Brent so thanks for your comment.

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  5. HI Phil I am so glad you found this post interesting and informative. In the whole of Ireland I am told there are about 34.,000 Pale bellied Brent geese but there are a lot of Dark bellied Brent in UK mainly down the east coast and I.O.W. Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.

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  6. a nice birding outing and great to pick up the tags and references too Margaret

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    1. HI Carole Yes good to get the tags Id and glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for comment.

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  7. This is a new bird to me. Finding out the information from the tags is interesting.

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    1. HI Linda Glad you found this bird interesting. Thanks for comment.

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  8. A fascinating post, Margaret. I didn't know about their capacity to drink salt water. Nicely illustrated too! I haven't seen a Brent/Brant for a few years now!

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    1. HI Richard Glad you found this post interesting. Thanks for comment.

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  9. What an interesting post, Margaret... And it was so informative... Thanks SO much.

    Hope you had a good week. We have been in Kentucky with friends... Had a fantastic time although it was COLD there.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. HI Betsy Glad to have you safely home again, Glad you found this post interesting. Thanks for comment.

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  10. Great shots of these geese. I saw alot of migrating geese when I was up in Wisconsin a few weeks ago. I love geese and think they are very special birds. I am also really enjoying your videos! Such fun

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    1. Hi Jeanne Glad you found this post interesting.ans also the videos Thanks for comment.

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  11. It really does look like it is raining, but I think it is the very shallow water, and rocks sticking up from the bottom. The short tails, almost NO tails!!! Are these the only geese that drink salt water?

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    1. HI Ginny No it is not raining, there is no water,the tide is out, no rocks either, just the ridgesof sandleft from the tide going out and perhaps some seaweed. As far as I know, yes they are the only geese that can drink salt water as they are purely a salt water goose. However they are NOT the only bird that can drink salt water. Someday, I may do a post on this subject. Thanks for you questions and comments.

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  12. That is a short tail, makes them look a little stubby.

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    1. Hi Pattis Glad you found this post interesting. Thanks for comment.

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  13. You have make beautiful photos, Margaret!
    Greetings, RW & SK

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    1. HI Glad you liked the photos. Thanks for comment.

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  14. My memories of geese seem to be dominated by distance and mud! Some things don't change.

    Nice pictures.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Hi Stewart Yes thins don't change. Hard to get photo because of wind, distance and mud! Gald you did like the shots and thanks for comment.

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  15. These are beautiful birds. The area is just wonderful in it's desolation.

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  16. HI Adrian I am very glad you liked the Brent and the area. It is quite scenic when the tide is in. I think yo might like roaming round Ireland in your van. thanks for comment and have a great week. At least we did not get the hurricane.

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  17. Another interesting post Margaret. Beautiful geese - you seem to be surrounded by such great reserves and places for birdwatching :)

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    1. HI RR we ar so blessed with birding sites. Glad you enjoyed the post adn thanks for comment.

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  18. I saw my first Brents of the winter last weekend too..............

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    1. Hi Stuart I am glad you have seen your first Brent now. Our firstBrent came in at the end of Augusst, mostly the nextlotin September and they probably have all arrived now. Thanks for comment.

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  19. I hope you keep a look out for some Black Brants among them Margaret, I would like to see Strangford Lough one day, Bonnies cousin lives in Portaferry. Dave.

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    1. Hi Dave Yes I will. it would be good to see even a dark belied Brrent here. Shame on you that you have never been to Northern Ireland especially as you havefamily here!! Perhaps someday andatleast now you know a birder here wo would be glad to take you birding. Thanks for comment.

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  20. I have never seen these...they're great. Thanks for sharing this species with us all.

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  21. HI Anni Glad you enjoyed thes birds that you had not sseen before and thanks for comment.

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