Return of the Blue House Farm Brent Geese

Return of the Blue House Farm Brent Geese

Our Brent Goose ringing project in collaboration with the Southern Colour Ringing Group, The Essex Recorders Partnership and Essex Birdwatching Society, has been providing some exciting results. We're pleased to be learning more about the behaviour and habitat preferences of ringed individuals.

Brent Goose Ringing Project

For the past two years, Essex Wildlife Trust and the Southern Colour Ringing Group have been collaborating on an exciting project to ring Brent Geese at Blue House Farm. The project allows us to track the movements of ringed individuals whenever their rings are read and reported, no matter where they are spotted in the world.

Last year, the collaboration launched a satellite tagging project, which enabled collection of even more valuable data about specific Brent Goose movements along the Essex coast, as well as tracking their movements along their incredible migration back to Siberia. Click here for more information about this exciting project, including migration highlights from earlier in the year. 

Brent Geese over fields at Blue House Farm

Photo courtesy of John Lilley

Sightings of returning individuals

It is exciting and humbling to see birds on the reserve and know from their rings that we’ve encountered them before at Blue House Farm, and that they’ve managed to fly thousands of miles and return to the same place, right here! So far this winter, 12 ringed Brent Geese have been seen back at Blue House Farm out of the individuals ringed during the past two winters.

Some dedicated fieldwork as part of the collaboration, including ring-reading and behavioural observation, has given us an insight into pairings between ringed individuals. There are four geese from last year’s ringed birds which are believed to be paired up together, and we’re happy to have seen that one of these pairs has brought back with them three juveniles!

The repeated return of hundreds (into thousands) of Brent Geese every winter highlights that this is a site of international importance for the species, ensuring the migrating birds have habitat available at the end of their long journey. This research will help us in our evidence-based decision making for Blue House Farm and potentially help inform wider-scale landscape conservation efforts.

Brent Goose

Photo - Andrew Armstrong 

Brent Goose Winter Walk

The Brent Geese are flocking in their hundreds on the reserve, which made for a great Brent Goose Winter Walk. We counted 600-700 birds, and this number will continue to grow into the thousands throughout winter. Thanks very much to all those who attended.

If you’re looking to get out in the fresh air over the Christmas holidays, we highly recommend popping to Blue House Farm for a brisk winter walk. Be sure to let us know how many geese you manage to spot!

Flock of Brent Geese

Courtesy of John Lilley

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas.

The Blue House Farm team