12 January 2010

Orkney Greylags in Norfolk

We have just got details through of some very bizarre movements of Orkney-bred Greylag Geese, which have now found Norfolk to their liking (but who wouldn't?!).

Both DIS and DIU were ringed (and given their orange neck collars) as goslings on 13 July 2008 on Birsay, Orkney. Both were then seen together in Suffolk (Lound Waterworks) on 21-23 December 2008 before moving to Norfolk (Strumpshaw Fen and Buckenham Marshes) on 24 December. They stayed right through to the end of January before being seen back, still together, on Orkney on 6 April 2009. This winter they are now both back at Buckenham, but this time joined by HAJ and HAK, ringed as goslings on Birsay on 9 July 2009! Quite a pattern developing!

These movements seem quite exceptional, but then the Orkney Greylag project only started in summer 2008, so maybe this isn't so new... The project now has funding for another four years so it'll be fascinating to see if more Orkney birds make it to our part of the world.

Interestingly, a lot of the Icelandic-ringed birds now spend their winters in Orkney instead of heading further south to places like Aberdeenshire, Tayside and even Highland. So what are these birds doing??? So all we need are more sightings of neck-collared birds, so keep your eyes out over the winter! Any records can be submitted via www.ring.ac

Interestingly Norfolk has also hosted Greylags from other strange places, with a Spanish-ringed bird (of the Scandinavian population) spending some time in the county (June-August 2004 and February 2005) and also recoveries from as far afield Poland and Germany!

Thanks to Alan Leitch for the info on these birds Alan and Andrew Easton for the photos of the birds in Orkney and Norfolk.


  1. Hey Mark, curious behaviour indeed - who'd want to leave Orkney for Norfolk!?

  2. Tell you why they are staying in Orkney its cos they are getting hammered in Aberdeenshire and safe roosts are hard to find!