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Goose catching

Geese became flightless for 3-4 weeks during their complete summer moult, and in a case of disturbance they cannot rely on their wings anymore. This makes them very vulnerable, and to find shelter the aggregate in flocks on lake systems, where distances for running from one lake to another aren’t big. Researchers use their habit to move swiftly from one lake to another after even slightest disturbance, and construct walls from nets and poles to drive geese to enclosures, where they could be caught and ringed with metal rings and plastic neck collars. 100 White-fronted geese and 16 Bean Geese were neckbanded during a week of intensive catching efforts in a middle of July. To create walls and enclosures research team carried all equipment 6-8 km west from the camp to the hilly part of the island with numerous lakes, where they several times installed and reinstalled 160-meters wide stationary trap to catch geese on four different lakes. Later in August some of the newly neckbanded geese families were observed in the area where they were caught and ringed.

carrying all the equipment
geese were caught in a coral
whitefronts waiting to be ringed

Hatching success check

Walking to the plots

After geese and ducks have hatched , the egg membranes remain lying in the nest, so this makes possible to estimate if the nest was successful or not just by thorough examination the nest content even after the goslings left the nest second day after hatching. Checking the nesting success is important procedure, that involves visiting all known nests of all waterfowl species, that sometimes exceed several hundreds in their number. This always done as soon as possible after last nests have hatched and it takes several days for a research team to walk around in predefined routes in order not to miss the important data that let then possible to compare breeding success among different species, seasons and parts of the islands.

Northern coast route

One week in the very end of July and beginning of August was devoted to a walk route to the northern coast. The task was to count geese in this part of the island and do some faunistic observations in this poorly-studied part of the island. Researchers visited several old-known Peregrine falcon nests, found new den of red Fox, visited abandoned Lighthouse, abandoned drilling tower, where we expected and found two new breeding localities of Gyrfalcons, whose youngs were rather well fledged at that moment. We also visited Meteorological station, well known as a place for the weather archives and forecasts, weekly sent to Expedition participants via Iridium sat phone from the mainland co-partners. A small Arctic Tern colony with fledged juveniles was also found on the very north of the island nearby abandoned Lighthouse.

Geese brood counts

[Translate to english:] Last days were devoted to intensive walking along the pre-defined routes 25-30 km per day to count moulting geese and brood aggregations and to estimate brood-size prior fledging in 3 geese species.These brood surveys let to locate several neckbanded geese, both old and newly banded. Among them we found a family with one neckbanded goose female, caught nearby the camp site and one month later observed with her brood more than 14 km south. Totally about 200 lakes were visited and checked, and almost 2000 broods were estimated for a broodsize.