April 2017: It’s late April and the Brent Geese have said farewell to Mayo once again to begin their long journey to eastern High Arctic Canada.
Throughout the winter months, The Light-bellied Brent Goose (Branta bernicla hrota) is a feature of the beaches and estuaries all along the Mayo coastline.
The shores of Killala Bay from Ross to Enniscrone, and the Moy estuary, is my favourite spot for watching the geese which you can see feeding on eel-grass, mosses and algae in the pools between the rocks at low tide
Ireland is the main wintering grounds from October to April for the geese which migrate in stages via western Iceland and Greenland to Arctic Canada’s Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Devon and Bathurst Islands.
This year the brent geese departed our shores near the end of April for their breeding grounds thousands of miles to the north west.
Ireland is the chief wintering grounds for the brent geese with only small numbers flying to Britain and northern France. This makes the Irish brent geese population internationally important.