Ringing and sightings


Up to 2011, only five Bean Geese (either fabalis or rossicus) had been caught and ringed in Britain and Ireland (one each in 1964, 1976 and 1987 and two in 2004) [1]. Four had been ringed on the North Slob, Wexford, Ireland and one at WWT Martin Mere, Lancashire, England. Two recoveries were forthcoming. An adult male (1390723) ringed on 10 March 2004 at North Slob was shot on 12 September 2006 at Olkijoki, Raahe: 64.73 N 24.57 E (Oulu) Finland (2,245km NE). Possibly it's female mate (1390724), again ringed on 10 March 2004 at North Slob, was seen alive in May 2004 at Renttimaaapa, Salla: 67.15 N 28.57 E (Lappi) Finland (2,528km NE), again at the same place in May 2005, and in April 2006 at Kokonkyla, Kauhajoki: 62.43 N 22.08 E (Vaasa) Finland (2,031km ENE).

Eight Bean Geese ringed abroad and recovered in Britain and Ireland have been recorded. Six were ringed in The Netherlands and probably refer to rossicus Bean Geese. A gosling marked in Jamtland, Sweden on 20 June 1953 was shot in January 1954 at Ellington, Northumberland. Another recovery involved a second year male marked on 28 July, 2010 at Jakobselvvidda, Nesseby (70.27 N 29.22 E) Finnmark, Norway, which was found dead on the Swale Estuary, Kent in November that year.

Swedish re-establishment programme

In March 1986, seven colour ringed Bean Geese (in a flock of nine birds) were reported from the Beauly Firth, Inverness, Scotland. The colour ringed birds were part of a re-established population being released by Lambart von Essen and the Swedish Sportsmens’ Association with support from WWF-Sweden. Between 1974 and 1988, 324 Bean Goose goslings were released in Sweden. The aim of the re-establishment programme was to repopulate former breeding areas in the southern part of the range where geese had formerly bred but had become extinct.

Most of the released birds wintered in Scania (southern Sweden) but clearly a small number had crossed the North Sea to spend at least one winter in Scotland. Subsequently, in February 1987, three colour ringed Bean Geese, amongst a flock of 114 birds, were reported from the Carron Valley Reservoir, near Falkirk, Scotland, although none of the colour combinations could be determined. In December 1987, six colour ringed Bean Geese, amongst a flock of 56, were also seen at the Carron Valley Reservoir.

No colour ringed birds from the Swedish release programme were subsequently reported from Britain or Ireland. It therefore seems likely that seven released Bean Geese seen on the Beauly Firth in 1986/87 and six (possibly including some of the same individuals) seen at Carron Valley Reservoir in 1987/88 wintered in Scotland for just two winters only. The later sighting was in a flock of 114 birds, the vast majority of which were un-ringed and hence, presumably not from the re-established population.

Recent marking in Scotland (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015)

In early autumn 2011, cannon-nets were set on the Slamannan Plateau, nr Falkirk, Scotland and 15 fabalis Bean Geese were caught on 12 October (Figure 1). This increased the number ringed in Britain and Ireland to 20 birds.
net.JPG
Figure 1. Cannon net (on left hand side) set in a grass field on the Slamannan Plateau, near Falkirk, Scotland, prior to the capture of 15 birds in October 2011 (photo: Huw Mitchell).

Four adult males were fitted with GPS units and collars and the remainder were fitted with neck collars only. After capture, all 15 collared birds were seen together (46 days after capture). Thirteen of the 15 birds fitted with collars (including three out of the four of the logger birds) were then seen many times (mean 11 sightings, range 3-14) on the Slamannan Plateau. Anecdotal observations of feeding rates, behavior, pairings and body condition suggest that there were no differences between bean geese marked with GPS/collars, collars only or unmarked birds. Two attempts (over several nights) to download data from the GSP units were unsuccessful. It is not known how the GPS units failed. However it is likely that low battery charge caused the re-setting of an internal clock in the GPS unit and that the predetermined download periods were altered. On 20 March 2012, seven of the collared Bean Geese were seen at near Akershus, Norway (60.08 N, 11.39 E) in a flock of 143 birds, thus identifying a staging area of part of the Slamannan Plateau flock prior to moving to the breeding grounds.

Six bean geese were caught on the Slamannan Plateau in October 2012. The catch comprised three adults and three first-winter birds and included 5231887, a retrap from the October 2011 catch. Three adults and one first-winter bird were fitted with GPS-GSM units attached to neck collars and two first winter birds were fitted with GPS-radio units attached to neck collars. After capture, all six collared birds were seen on during the winter. Again, anecdotal observations of feeding rates, behavior, pairings and body condition suggest that there were no differences between bean geese marked with GPS/collars, collars only or unmarked birds.Two attempts to download data from the GPS-radio units were successful full location data since capture were obtained. In late February 2013, the marked geese left the Slamannan Plateau and the four birds marked with GPS-GSM units were recorded in NW Denmark, thus identifying a new staging area of part of the Slamannan flock prior to moving to the breeding grounds.

Fourteen Bean Geese were caught on the Slamannan Plateau in October 2013. The catch comprised 11 adults and 3 first winter-birds and included 5231880, a retrap from the October 2011 catch. Four of the adults were marked with GPS tags.

Seven Bean Geese were caught on the Slamannan Plateau in October 2015 bringing the total number caught at the site to 42, and increasing the total number newly ringed in Britain and Ireland to 45 birds. The catch comprised four adults and three first-winter birds and included 5244201,a retrap from the October 2012 catch. Subsequent observations confirmed that the catch comprised a family (a pair plus thee young) and two un-paired adults. The four adults were fitted with GPS tags.

Date
No. Bean Geese caught
No. newly ringed
No. retraps
No. adults
No. first winters
No. marked with GSP tags
12 Oct 2011
15
15

11
4
4 *
14 Oct 2012
6
5
1
3
3
6
7 Oct 2013
14
13
1
11
3
4
9 Oct 2015
7
6
1
4
3
4
  • None of the four Alana GPS tags worked (see text above)

The movement of Scotland's Bean Geese during spring and autumn migration can be found on the 'migration and breeding areas' page.

To report a sighting of a individually marked Bean Geese

Records can be reported by sending an e-mail to carl.mitchell"@"wwt.org.uk - just remove the quotation marks before sending. Please note the date, location (grid reference or lat/lon), colour ring and any associated geese (e.g. mate, number of goslings etc.), flock size, if at all possible. The records will be added to an open database (see below). If you have any concerns about the location of the sightings and wish to keep the record confidential, please not this in the email report.

Previous sightings of individually marked Bean Geese

Click on the links below:

button_black-collar-02.png (red ring, left leg)
button_black-collar_04.png (yellow ring, left leg)
button_black-collar-06.png (blue ring, right leg)
button_black-collar-07.png (black ring, left leg
button_black-collar-08.png (white ring, left leg)
button_black-collar-10.png (green ring, right leg)
button_black-collar-27.png(black ring, right leg)
button_black-collar-29.png(yellow ring, right leg)
button_black-collar-30.png(red ring, right leg)
button_grey-collar-3y.png
button_grey-collar-4Y.png
button_grey-collar-6S.png
button_grey-collar-6U.png
button_grey-collar-6X.png
button_grey-collar-6Y.png
button_grey-collar-6Z.png
button_grey-collar-7P.png
button_grey-collar-7T.png
button_grey-collar-7U.png
button_grey-collar-7V.png
button_grey-collar-7X.png
button_grey-collar-7Y.png
button_grey-collar-7Z.png
button_grey-collar-S8.png
button_grey-collar-T8.png
button_grey-collar-V6.png


References
[1] BTO ringing totals. http://blx1.bto.org/ringta/ringing-totals.jsp (accessed on 21/04/2013)