Take part in a survey and help support WWT’s waterbird monitoring work.
We undertake a range of surveys that rely on volunteer surveyors, from roost counts to undertaking age assessments of goose flocks to reading colour-rings. Below is a list of forthcoming surveys for which volunteers assist with counts.
Icelandic-breeding Goose Census
The Icelandic-breeding Goose Census (IGC) is a survey designed to monitor the numbers of Iceland Greylag Geese and Greenland/Iceland Pink-footed Geese. The annual survey consists of one count per month in October and November. We also undertake coordinated spring counts every three years to assess site importance at this crucial time of the year.
Count dates for 2017/18
Pink-footed Goose – 21/22 October and 18/19 November 2017, and 10/11 March 2018 (spring census)
Iceland Greylag Goose – 18/19 November 2017 and 10/11 March 2018 (spring census)
National goose and swan age assessments
Age assessments are undertaken to determine the annual reproductive success of each goose and swan population. Counters record the number of young present and the size of family groups. The survey period for age assessments varies depending on the species involved; however, the surveys are mostly carried out during the autumn and winter.
Coordinated Whooper and Bewick’s Swan age assessments
Three coordinated census dates are set each winter for age assessments of Whooper and Bewick’s Swans (although age assessments made at any time during the winter are welcome). Count dates for 2017/18 are:
12 November and 12 December 2017, and 16th January 2018.
For Bewick’s Swans, please focus on December, whilst for Whooper Swans, please focus on January.
Counters needed to plug gaps and increase coverage
We’re looking for counters who can undertake age assessments of Dark-bellied Brent Geese to cover Chichester and Langstone Harbours (Hampshire/West Sussex) and Hamford Water (Essex).
We’re also looking to expand the network of counters who carry out age assessments of Whooper Swans, particularly in northern England and Scotland.
If you are interested in taking part please contact us.
Greenland White-fronted Goose Census
The Greenland White-fronted Goose Census is organsised by the Greenland White-fronted Goose Study. The aim of the census is to assess the population size of Greenland White-fronted Goose and estimate annual breeding success.
Count dates for 2017/18
Greenland White-fronted Goose – 16-20 December 2017 and 17-21 March 2018
Other preferential dates for local site monitoring are: 18-22 November 2017, 13-17 January 2018 and 17-21 February 2018.
Looking for colour-marked birds
There are a number of projects that involve the capture and marking of geese and swans with coloured leg rings and/or neck collars. Such projects provide information to researchers on the life of individual birds, such as their migration strategies.
Sightings of colour-marked birds can be provided at any time of year.
There are various other surveys, both annual and periodic, that volunteers can get involved with.
GSMP network resources and information
The Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) network is the programme’s greatest strength. The magnificent contributions from all the counters, ring-readers, bird ringers and the many other participants is what makes a programme such as this possible.
Various resources and information for the GSMP network are available on this website.