The European white-fronted geese at Slimbridge will be on their way back to their breeding grounds soon so I wanted to photograph them once more before they departed.
I was luckier than the last time I visited as they were a little closer to the Holden tower hide than they had been and in amongst them was the adult tundra bean goose.
Decline In numbers
The numbers of white-fronts visiting the Newgrounds has declined enormously over the last 30 years, and if it continues as it has, it’s possible that there may not be many more years left of having the chance to witness such a gathering. From counts pushing four and five thousand in the early eighties and as many as seven thousand in the late 60’s the numbers are now always below five hundred. This year 225 has been the highest count.
Climate change and changing habits
It’s not that the species is in decline but rather it is finding new wintering feeding sites closer to its breeding grounds in Siberia and European arctic Russia and so is not embarking on longer unnecessary migration to traditional wintering areas, climate change has always affected migration patterns and will continue to do so.
The distance the birds were from the tower meant that with the 500mm and a 1.7 converter and the D300 I was still in effect working with the birds in a broader context.
Tracking the geese
The last image here shows a neck ring on the trailing white-front, I’ve sent the details in to the Tracking Marked Geese web site so we’ll see if any information is forthcoming on the movement of this bird.