This project for the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) was completed in March 2017. We worked with goose expert Kerry Mackie to scope issues relating to the feral Greylag Geese on Rathlin Island, which are increasing in number. In winter the feral birds are joined by geese from Scotland and possibly Icelandic birds as well. We carried out 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 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 carried out field by field assessments of goose activity and interviewed landowners on Rathlin to find out more about the geese throughout the year. We also investigated issues relating to feral geese including potential damage to grasslands and silage.