Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme

The Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) monitors the abundance and breeding success of the UK’s native geese and migratory swans during the non-breeding season. The GSMP is organised by WWT and funded in partnership with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and NatureScot.

Some of the surveys reported on by the GSMP are organised by partner organisations, who kindly provide data to WWT enabling the programme to report on each of the goose and swan populations at a national and flyway scale.

  • Background information

    WWT has been involved in monitoring the UK’s internationally important goose populations since its inception in the 1940s. In fact, concern over declining numbers of some geese and other wildfowl was a major reason behind Peter Scott’s decision to form the then Severn Wildfowl Trust. At that time, few data existed on most UK goose populations, but pioneering work, in particular by Hugh Boyd, on the European White-fronted Geese wintering at Slimbridge and Pink-footed Geese, resulted in the development of the methods required for comprehensive surveys of these and other geese. A detailed account of the development of WWTs goose monitoring and research was published in Wildfowl 47.

    The UK remains incredibly important for migratory geese and swans that come here for the non-breeding season, and supports more goose populations at this time than any other country in Europe. Standard waterbird monitoring methods (so-called ‘look-see’ surveys carried out at wetlands, as used for the International Waterbird Census and Wetland Bird Survey) are not especially suitable for most geese and swans since these birds are mainly found away from wetland areas during the daytime when ‘look-see’ counts are conducted.

    The Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) is a network encompassing a variety of organisations, groups and individuals involved in goose and swan monitoring in the UK, and in some cases elsewhere within these flyways. It is primarily funded through a partnership between WWT, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), and NatureScot and comprises a suite of surveys designed to accurately assess the abundance of goose and swan populations for which the standard WeBS methodology is unsuitable. Furthermore, it also includes surveys designed to monitor annual breeding success, survival and movements. A number of these surveys, primarily for those populations where a high proportion occur in the UK, are conducted at a flyway scale through collaboration with key partners and the Goose Specialist Group. This work also underpins effective goose management, which is particularly important in Scotland (e.g. local goose management schemes).

    Please contact WWT if you require any further information about the GSMP.

 


The Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) monitors the abundance and breeding success of the UK’s native geese and migratory swans during the non-breeding season. GSMP is organised by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and funded in partnership with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (on behalf of NRW, NE and DAERA Northern Ireland) and NatureScot.