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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Godzilla the goose in speedy feat
Godzilla made it across the North Sea in eight hours

A fast-flying barnacle goose has made it from south west Scotland to Norway in just eight hours.

Godzilla the goose was part of a project to tag and track 10 birds on the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's Caerlaverock Reserve.

He left his Dumfries and Galloway base at 2000 BST on Wednesday and made it to Norway by 0400 BST the next day.

The bird had an average speed of about 60mph on his trip and is the only goose of the 10 to make the journey so far.

WWT Learning Manager, Brian Morrell, said the speed and timing of the trip had come as something of a surprise.

Old Godzilla must have just thought - right, off we go!
Brian Morrell
WWT learning manager

"We have fitted 10 GPS transmitter tags on barnacle geese to monitor them on their northward migration," he said.

"It is usually the end of April or beginning of May that the birds head off.

"But one of the birds, Godzilla, has headed off already."

The GPS tags allow the WWT to monitor the speed, altitude and location of the birds to within a five-metre radius.

Fellow participants

The 10 geese involved in the monitoring project were given their names by local schools - five on the Scottish side of the Solway and five on the English.

Godzilla received his name from the Solway Community School in Silloth.

"He made it in pretty good time, we think he flew to Norway overnight," said Mr Morrell.

"At eight o'clock on Wednesday evening he was at Caerlaverock and by four o'clock on Thursday he was nearly there."

Now the WWT is trying to work out why Godzilla set out before his fellow participants in the project.

Goose map
The geese are being tracked on their journeys via GPS tags

"They know it is time to migrate - they wait for a south westerly wind," said Mr Morrell.

He said a strong following breeze on Wednesday night appears to have convinced the goose to make his move.

"Old Godzilla must have just thought - right, off we go!" he said.

Every winter the entire population of Svalbard barnacle geese arrives on the Solway Firth.

A large number of them feed at the WWT centre at Caerlaverock.

In the spring the birds make the 2,000 mile return journey to their breeding grounds in Svalbard midway between Norway and the North Pole.

The birds stop off in Norway on their travels back north.




SEE ALSO
Wild geese flocking to Scotland
23 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Rare birds flock to reserve
28 Dec 02 |  Scotland

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