A barnacle goose who failed to turn up at his overwintering grounds at WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre in Scotland has turned up safe and well – a record 900 miles further south in Spain! It’s the furthest south that a barnacle goose has ever been recorded.
The goose had migrated safely for six years running between arctic Svalbard and Scotland before being absent from Scotland last winter. With no sign of him again this winter, WWT staff feared he hadn’t survived.
But amazingly, birdwatcher Emilio Martinez spotted the goose this week in the sunshine of the Rouxique marshes near Vigo on northwest Spain’s Atlantic coast.
Fellow birdwatcher Antonio Guttierez reported the goose’s leg ring, orange CBZ, which identified it as an adult male ringed by WWT at Caerlaverock Wetland Centre in 2004. There, on the Solway Firth wetlands, WWT provides protection for one of the world’s three populations of barnacle geese, which is loyal to the Solway Firth in winter and Svalbard in summer (WWT’s ringing work originally identified there are three separate populations, the other two populations breed in Greenland and Siberia).
WWT’s protection has helped the Svalbard/Solway First population in recovering from only 300 individuals in the 1940s to a thriving 30,000 individuals today.
WWT Principle Species Research Officer at Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Dr Larry Griffin, said:
“We’re gobsmacked. Barnacle geese have a tough life facing extreme weather and food scarcity so we had started to assume this one hadn’t made it. To find out he’s actually made a record journey south and been sunning himself in Spain is amazing.
“By ringing the wild birds under our protection, we can find out where they go and where they might need further protection. We’re hugely indebted to birdwatchers like Emilio and Antonio who record the leg rings they spot and let us know where the birds have got to.
“It’s possible that Orange CBZ was disoriented by the recent bad weather. He’ll need to rest and feed himself up after such a long journey. Once he leaves Spain, we’ll be keeping a special eye out to see if he returns to the Costa del Solway!”
You can see the entire 30,000 Svalbard/Solway Firth barnacle geese population this winter (except for Orange CBZ at the moment!) by visiting WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre near Dumfries. You can also meet our resident barnacle geese at WWT London, Llanelli, Martin Mere, Slimbridge and Washington Wetland Centres.
Barnacle geese are just one of the migrating species you can see arriving at WWT’s nine Wetland Centres across the UK as the season changes – alongside the likes of Bewick’s and whooper swans, pink-footed geese, white-fronted geese, bitterns, teal, shoveler, gadwall and much, much more.
This article was written for and published by WWT News.
Share this post with your friends
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the MOTV trophy hunting channel be closed down? [1645 Views]
- POLL: Should captivity for all killer whales be banned? [1199 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a tough crack down on the killing of raptors? [1187 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of lions be banned? [1171 Views]
- POLL: Should trophy hunting be banned? [1142 Views]
- POLL: Should the keeping of dolphins in captivity be banned? [1109 Views]
- POLL: Should the pangolin slaughter in Africa be banned? [882 Views]
- POLL: Should Asia’s elephant tourism be banned? [772 Views]
- POLL: Should the culling of Scotland’s mountain hares be banned? [706 Views]
- Selfie-Seeking Men Kidnap, Injure Endangered Florida Deer [692 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16946 Views]
- POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [10178 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [9400 Views]
- POLL: Should the killing of giraffes be outlawed? [4734 Views]
- POLL: Should the sale of elephant ivory be legalized? [4084 Views]
- POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3791 Views]
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2857 Views]
- POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2633 Views]
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2569 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2312 Views]