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Spring migrants

16 April 2008

Well, Spring is here and in common with everywhere else, the migrants are returning to St Kilda. I’ve come back for a final year, and will be joined this time by Bill Shaw (the new Ranger) and George Geddes (new Archaeologist). Bill is already on island and thoroughly enjoying the experience, and George will arrive in a couple of week’s time.


The day after I got back to Kilda I noticed a couple of Brent geese on the shore with yellow numbered leg rings on. I reported the sighting to the British Trust for Ornithology, who coordinate all colour ring sightings in the UK, and within a day had a reply from Graham McElwaine from the Irish Brent Goose Research Group, giving me details about these birds. The birds involved (39YY and 32YY) are a pair, and were ringed in Iceland in May 2007. They were seen together at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland in September last year, and then again in February at Rogerstown Estuary in county Dublin, before being sighted here on St Kilda this week.


1 brent

Brent geese with Dun in the background


Graham was very pleased to have a sighting from such a remote place, and it’s wonderful for us to have a bit more knowledge on the birds that pass through each year. Many species stay with us for just a day or so, whereas some choose to spend the whole summer here, just like our human visitors, and it’s always interesting to find out a bit of background about both the birds and the people. As I write, 39YY and 32YY are still feeding happily on the shore, but will no doubt soon be winging their way back to the East Canadian breeding grounds for the busy process of rearing a new family. Who knows, maybe they’ll choose to return next year, possibly with some youngsters in tow?



1 brent ringed



39YY, the female of the pair.


Sarah, Seabird and Marine Ranger






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