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Checking Goose Nests in Spitsbergen

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At the start of the season, we are trying to assess the season as quick as possible. Which goose is nesting where, and how many eggs are in the nest.
During a visit on the island Storholmen in the Kings Bay at Spitsbergen, I came across this old lady. I ringed this goose green PA in 1991, when she was already an adult.
She knows the drill as well as I do and does not want to spend much energy on resistance. I lift her up, read the ring and count the eggs. At other arctic sites, there seems to be a lot of snow and incubation has been delayed. In my study area, despite the large amount of snow, nesting sites were available and nesting started at about a similar time as last year. Clutch size is low with an average of 3.6 goose eggs per nest after the first checks. Glaucous gulls have their young already a week. Eiders start hatching and geese will hatch probably next week.

For more stories follow Maarten’s website and blog.

Image credit: Checking goose nests. Photo by Richard Jeffrey

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