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Checking Goose Nests in Spitsbergen


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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