I spent a couple of days earlier this month with Eugene Sweeney, a birding friend from Ireland. Instead of hitting Wexford, which is what we have always done when I go home, we headed north to Donegal, hitting Malin Head and Inch Marshes. This was my first time to the latter site and I had no idea is was so good – perhaps better than the world famous Wexford Slobs in terms of ease of access. Numbers and diversity of waterfowl were exceptional and rivaled anything you could find in Wexford. You may remember the collared Canada Goose that I reported from Walpole in March 2011 and 2013 which was banded in western Greenland in 2008. Eugene and I reprised the fun at Inch, which is a major wintering site for Greylag Geese (I get to spell gray the Irish way when I am reporting from Ireland). We tallied three collared Greylags amongst the several thousand strong flock. I just got a reply back from the biologists who banded the birds, and two of the three were traced to Klepp, Rogaland, in southern Norway. This was a surprise to the biologists, who expected the majority of the Greylags to be of Icelandic origin.
If Greylag is ever going to be accepted in the northeastern US, it will help if the bird has a collar. Listening to the flock, I was reminded just how close these guys are to barnyard geese. Many species of geese have distinctive calls, but to my ears, the Greylags sound closest to the familiar farmyard honk.