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Icelandic Goose Chase - Part 2

As part of Top goose we have attached satellite transmitters to three Greenland White-fronted Geese. Now we are in Iceland we want to do the same with a few Brent Geese so that we can track their movements over the Greenland ice cap en route to Arctic Canada.

Having said that, in Tuesday's programme you'll hear that catching a goose can be, well, a bit of a wild goose chase.

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The second half of our trip focuses on the small dark beauties known as Brent Geese. They’re scattered around the coast, but today we only had to travel a few minutes from the centre of Reykjavik to see them. Flocks were grazing on fields around the bay at Alftanes, where local schoolchildren have been following their journeys and liaising with students in Northern Ireland where the geese winter.

We talked to the kids about the geese. Most liked them, one complained about goose-poop on the golf course, but they enjoyed the interviews even in heavy rain. They suggested names for the geese which would wear our transmitters - there was a strong Star Wars influence… will they picked by WWT. Who knows?

Talking of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, yesterday we met up with Kendrew Colhoun from Northern Ireland to try and catch our Brent Geese for tagging. He and a tagging team had set up the cannon nets in a likely-looking field near the bay, primed the charges and all was ready. Trouble was, when the day came the rain was sheeting down, the wind was blowing and the geese were reluctant to arrive. After crouching in our cars, sodden and miserable, we went back to our hotel and waited.

Amazingly, the sun came out and Kendrew called us back for a second go. Conditions were perfect, nearly 200 geese were in range of the nets and we were all on the alert ready to nab our brents. Then disaster struck and just as we were about to fire the nets, the local farmer chose this particular moment to sound his car horn very loudly and the whole flock took off, flew over our heads and across the bay - never to be seen again, at least for the rest of the day. So maybe after tonight and a few glasses of Irish whiskey, we’ll be ready to try again tomorrow.


Further Reading:

Next report: Skywalker reaches Greenland
Last report Icelandic Goose Chase Part I
Will our Top Geese have enough fuel to make it over the Greenland ice cap? You can find out by checking the maps and fuel gauges on the Top Goose website

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