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Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Branta b. bernicla), caught for ringing, Northern Taimyr; Russia
The Dark-bellied Brent Geese breeds during the short Arctic summer on the northernmost coast and offshore islands of the Taimyr peninsular in northernmost Siberia/Russian Federation. It winters along the coasts of South-East England, Northwest France and the Dutch-German-Danish Wadden Sea and is highly dependent on sea grass (Zostera) on tidal flats as well as saltmarshes. Saltmarshes in the Wadden Sea are also in spring (April/May) the main food source for building up fat reserves enabling the species to migrate to its high Arctic breeding grounds.
Each year, the Geese undergo a flightless-moulting period. In former times local people used the flight-disability of the geese during summer weeks to catch them for food. Here they are caught for scientific tagging. German-Russian expeditions to Taimyr in 1989-1991 and studies on brent geese were followed by the establishment of the Great Arctic Reserve, protecting the key moulting areas of the species.