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Tracking the Essex winter geese population by satellite

A quarter of the world's brent geese population fly into Essex to feed every year. Photo: ITV News Anglia

A quarter of the world's population of brent geese winter in Essex and wildlife experts are now pioneering a way to track them from space.

Up to 1,500 to 2,000 brent geese come to the Essex Wildlife Trust Blue House Farm Nature Reserve on the River Crouch at Fambridge every year.

They fly in from Northern Siberia to feed on the grassland habitat.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Kate Prout

The Essex Wildlife Trust have captured five brent geese and attached GPS tags to their feet.

These tiny devices are solar powered and can upload the birds' location several times a day to satellites.

From the end of March thousands of Brent Geese migrate from our shores across to Holland up through the Baltic Sea to the Taymyr peninsula of Siberia.

It is a journey of around 2,500 miles that will take them around a fortnight to complete.

Tracking the brent geese will help find out their habits and needs. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We'll be able to tell if they're flying to avoid existing windfarms and what height they are flying at.

"This will help us adapt the landscape here at Blue House Farm and how we manage lots of different sites for wildlife"

– Harry Smith, Essex Wildlife Trust
Up to 2,000 brent geese will visit the Blue House Farm Nature Reserve on the River Crouch. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Brent geese are one of those rare British birds in that their numbers are actually really healthy.

That doesn't just depend on how much food they're getting when they're in the UK but it also depends on how many predators, like arctic fox, are around whilst they're breeding in Siberia.

Tracking the geese by satellite will reveal much more about their habits and their needs.

A quarter of the world's brent geese population fly into Essex to feed every year. Credit: ITV News Anglia