Satellite-tracking reveals new migration route for Lesser White-fronts
Further light has been shed on the migratory movements of the highly-threatened population of Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, as a result of on-going satellite tracking studies financed with an EU-LIFE grant.
The project, coordinated by WWF-Finland, involves Norsk Ornitologisk Forening, NOF (BirdLife in Norway), BirdLife Finland and Hellenic Ornithological Society, HOS (BirdLife in Greece).
“Satellite tracking has provided a lot of new valuable information on the routes of the geese,” said Ingar Jostein Øien of NOF.
Previous satellite tracking studies had shown that the Fennoscandian population had two different migratory routes, but the final destination for some of the population was largely unknown.
In this early study, satellite-tracking showed that the main flyway for the geese went from their breeding area in the Fennoscandian mountains, through the Kanin Peninsula in Russia, south through eastern Hungary and finally to wintering grounds in the Evros River Delta, on the border of Greece and Turkey.
Some Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronts were found to take a different route from the Kanin Peninsula on to northern Kazakhstan but then on to unknown wintering grounds.
It was assumed that this part of the Fennoscandian population migrated further south to the Caspian Sea region and possibly into the Mesopotamian Marshes of Iraq.
However, the new satellite tracking results from three Lesser White-fronted Geese tagged this year in Norway show that, on the contrary, these two flyways are not separate – the birds rejoined with the other Lesser White-fronts in northern Greece after undertaking an impressive ‘loop-migration’ via the Russian Taimyr Peninsula in northern Siberia, northern Kazakhstan and the Black Sea.