This is a new project for the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) which will be completed in early March. We are working with goose expert Kerry Mackie to scope issues relating to the feral Greylag Geese on Rathlin Island, which are increasing in number. At this time of year the feral birds are joined by geese from Scotland and possibly Icelandic birds as well. We have been doing co-ordinated counts of geese on Rathlin and Fair Head, where Rathin birds are known to visit. Observations of neck-collared birds have established movement of birds between Rathlin, Fair Head and Islay. Orange NCL and NDD have been recorded from all three sites.
Kerry has also managed to catch three birds on Rathlin and fitted them with neck collars. The new collars are Orange BVH, BVI and BVJ. If you see any of these collars please contact us to report your sighting. It will be fascinating to see where they end up.
We have been interviewing landowners on Rathlin to find out more about the geese at other times of the year. We are also building up a picture of issues relating to feral geese including potential damage to grasslands and silage. Our report will consider these issues in detail and will be completed next month.