Reports and GSMP newsletter

publications_gsmp

WWT has been involved in goose and swan monitoring since the 1940s. Below is a selection of reports and papers that present the results from some of the surveys and projects that we have been involved in.

This in includes the results of many of the Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme (GSMP) surveys, which are available in reports and/or published as papers in journals; along with the annual newsletter of the GSMP, GooseNews, which provides various GSMP information.

If you are interested in a particular report not listed here, please try our Publications page or contact us at WWT Slimbridge.

GooseNews

GooseNews is the annual newsletter of WWT’s Goose & Swan Monitoring Programme. It contains reports from monitoring activities, information on forthcoming surveys, and other information of relevance and interest to those involved with goose and swan monitoring in the UK.

International Swan Census

The International Swan Census aims to estimate population size and identify important wintering sites of Bewick’s and Whooper Swans. The first census was in 1986 and it is conducted every five years.

Find out more about the International Swan Census

  • Bewick's Swan census reports

    Beekman, J., K. Koffijberg, J. Wahl, C. Kowallik, C. Hall, K. Devos, P. Clausen, M. Hornman, B. Laubek, L. Luigujõe, M. Wieloch, H. Boland, S. Švažas, L. Nilsson, A. Stipniece, V. Keller, C. Gaudard, A. Degen, P. Shimmings, B-H. Larsen, D. Portolou, T. Langendoen, K.A. Wood & E.C. Rees. 2019. Long-term population trends and shifts in distribution of Bewick’s Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii wintering in northwest Europe. Wildfowl Special Issue 5: 73-102.  Download

    Crowe, O., J.G. McElwaine, H. Boland & I.J. Enlander. Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Census, January 2015. 2015. Irish Birds 10: 151-158. Download

    Boland, H., J.G. McElwaine, G. Henderson, C. Hall, A. Walsh & O. Crowe. 2010. Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Cenus January 2010. Irish Birds 9: 1-10. Download

    Worden, J., P.A. Cranswick, O. Crowe, G. McElwaine & E.C. Rees. 2006. Numbers and distribution of Bewick’s Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii wintering in Britain and Ireland: results of the International Censuses, January 1995, 2000 and 2005. Wildfowl 56: 3-22. Download

    Crowe, O., J.G. McElwaine, J. Worden, G.A. Watson, A. Walsh & H. Boland. 2005. Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Census, January 2005. Irish Birds 7: 483-488. Download

    Colhoun, K., J.G. McElwaine, P.A. Cranswick, I. Enlander & O.J. Merne. 2000. Numbers and distribution of Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Census, January 2000. Irish Birds 6: 485-494.

    Beekman, J.H. 1997. Censuses of NW European Bewick’s Swan population January 1990 and 1995. Swan Specialist Group Newsletter 6: 7-9. Download

    Beekman, J.H., S. Dirksen & T.H. Slagboom. 1985. Population size and breeding success of Bewick’s Swans wintering in Europe in 1983-4. Wildfowl 36: 5-12. Download

    An overview of Bewick’s Swan population trends up to the 2005 International Swan Census was also published in: Rees, E.C. & J.H. Beekman. 2010. Northwest European Bewick’s Swans: a population in decline. British Birds 103: 640-650. Download

  • Whooper Swan census reports

    Hall, C., O. Crowe, G. McElwaine, Ó. Einarsson, N. Calbrade & E. Rees. 2016. Population size and breeding success of the Icelandic Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus: results of the 2015 International Census. Wildfowl 66: 75-97. Download

    Crowe, O., J.G. McElwaine, H. Boland & I.J. Enlander. Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Census, January 2015. 2015. Irish Birds 10: 151-158. Download

    Hall, C., J.R. Glanville, H. Boland,  Ó. Einarsson, G. McElwaine, C.A. Holt, C.J. Spray & E.C. Rees. 2012. Population size and breeding success of Icelandic Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus: results of the 2010 international census. Wildfowl 62: 73-96. Download

    Boland, H., J.G. McElwaine, G. Henderson, C. Hall, A. Walsh & O. Crowe. 2010. Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Cenus January 2010. Irish Birds 9: 1-10. Download

    Worden, J., O. Crowe, Ó. Einarsson, A. Garðarsson, G. McElwaine & E.C. Rees. 2009. Population size and breeding success of the Icelandic Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus: results of the January 2005 International Census. Wildfowl 59:17-40. Download

    Crowe, O., J.G. McElwaine, J. Worden, G.A. Watson, A. Walsh & H. Boland. 2005. Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Census, January 2005. Irish Birds 7: 483-488. Download

    Cranswick, P.A., K. Colhoun, Ó. Einarsson, J.G. McElwaine, A. Garðarsson, M.S. Pollitt & E.C. Rees. 2002. The Status and Distribution of the Icelandic Whooper Swan population: Results of the International Whooper Swan Census 2000. In: Rees, E.C., S.L. Earnst & J.C. Coulson (eds.). Proceedings of the Fourth International Swan Symposium, 2001. Waterbirds 25 (Special Publication 1): 37-48.

    Colhoun, K., J.G. McElwaine, P.A. Cranswick, I. Enlander & O.J. Merne. 2000. Numbers and distribution of Whooper Cygnus cygnus and Bewick’s C. columbianus bewickii Swans in Ireland: results of the International Swan Census, January 2000. Irish Birds 6: 485-494.

    Cranswick, P.A., J.M. Bowler, S. Delany, Ó. Einarsson, A. Garðarsson, J.G. McElwaine, E.C. Rees & J.H. Wells. 1997. Whooper Swans wintering in Britain, Ireland and Iceland: International Census, January 1995. Wildfowl 47: 17-30. Download

    Kirby, J., E.C. Rees, O. Merne & A. Garðarsson. 1992. International census of Whooper Swans in Britain, Ireland and Iceland: January 1991. Wildfowl 43: 20-26. Download

    Black, J.M. 1986. The January 1986 Whooper Swan census in Britain, Ireland and Iceland. Wildfowl 37: 172-174. Download

Icelandic-breeding Goose Census

The Icelandic-breeding Goose Census (IGC) started in the UK in 1960 and now includes over 120 sites internationally. It aims to estimate population sizes of Icelandic-breeding geese – Greenland/Iceland Pink-footed Goose and Iceland Greylag Goose – and identify important wintering areas.

Find out more about the Icelandic-breeding Goose Census

Mid-winter and spring Pink-footed and Greylag Goose counts

Spring counts of Pink-footed and Iceland Greylag Geese in Britain were carried out from 1982 to 1986, from 1988 to 1990 and from 1994 to 1996. The aim of these surveys was to determine the location of key sites used by the geese during late winter and spring, outwith the traditional autumn and early winter (IGC) counts.

A spring count was re-introduced during the 2011/12 season and will be repeated on a three-yearly cycle. Results from these counts are available in the Icelandic-breeding Goose Census reports (see above).

Greenland White-fronted Goose Census

The Greenland White-fronted Goose Census started in the winter of 1982/83 and aims to assess population size and reproductive success, and identify important wintering sites for Greenland White-fronted Geese in the UK and Ireland. Reports can also be downloaded from GWGS resources, including reports for censuses prior to 2000/01.

Find out more about the Greenland White-fronted Goose Census

Surveys of British Greylag Geese

A number of different surveys of British Greylag Geese have been conducted throughout Scotland to assess the abundance, distribution and breeding success of this population. There have been two Scotland-wide surveys in 1997 and 2008-09, as well as a number of more localised surveys of key areas such as Orkney.

Archipelago-wide surveys in Orkney have been conducted each August since 2012. The 2012 survey included a random stratified survey on Mainland, and made recommendations for future monitoring of Greylag Geese in Orkney. A number of other key areas, including the Uists, are also surveyed annually and these results can be found here.

Find out more about the Scottish Greylag Goose Survey.

Svalbard Barnacle Goose Census

Since 1995, NatureScot has run a Goose Management Scheme at the Solway Firth and funded an annual survey to assess the distribution and abundance of the Svalbard Barnacle Goose (and other goose and swan species) on the fields and saltmarsh of the north side of the Solway Firth in relation to the Solway Barnacle Goose Management Scheme area have regularly been undertaken. The reports below provide the results of these surveys, but also include the results of the coordinated total population counts at the Solway.

International Census of Greenland Barnacle Geese

Using ground and aerial counts, the International Census of Greenland Barnacle Geese aims to assess the population size and distribution, and important wintering sites of Greenland Barnacle Geese in the UK and Ireland. It began in 1959 and has been carried out approximately every five years.

Find out more about the International Census of Greenland Barnacle Geese

  • International Greenland Barnacle Goose Census reports

    Mitchell, C. & Hall, C. 2020. Greenland barnacle geese Branta leucopsis in Britain and Ireland: results of the International census, spring 2018. Scottish Natural Heritage Research Report No. 1154. Download

    Mitchell, C. & C. Hall 2013. Greenland Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis in Britain and Ireland: results of the international census, spring 2013. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. 31pp. Download

    Mitchell, C., A. Walsh, C. Hall & O. Crowe. 2008. Greenland Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis in Britain and Ireland: results of the international census, spring 2008. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. Download

    Worden, J., C.R. Mitchell, O.J. Merne & P.A. Cranswick. 2004. Greenland Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis in Britain and Ireland: results of the international census, March 2003. The Wilfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. Download

    Walsh, A.J. & O. Crowe. 2008. Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis in Ireland, spring 2008. Irish Birds 8: 430-432. Download

    Merne, O.J. & A. Walsh. 2003. Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis in Ireland, spring 2003. Irish Birds 7: 173-176.

    Cranswick, P.A., C.R. Mitchell, O.J. Merne, M. Kershaw, S.N. Delany, M. Mackay & R. Lilley. Status and distribution of the Greenland population of Barnacle Goose in Britain and Ireland, 1993 to 1999. Unpublished Report. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge.

    Merne, O.J. & A. Walsh. 2002. Barnacle Geese in Ireland, spring 1999. Irish Birds 7: 53-56.

    Delany, S. & M.A. Ogilvie. 1994. Greenland Barnacle Geese in Scotland, March 1994. WWT report to JNCC. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge.

    Merne, O.J. & A. Walsh. 1994. Barnacle Geese in Ireland, spring 1993 and 1994. Irish Birds 5: 151-156.

    Fox, A.D., M.A. Ogilvie, N. Easterbee & E.M. Bignal. 1990. East Greenland Barnacle Geese in Scotland, Spring 1988. Scottish Birds 1990 16: 1-10. Download

    Walsh, A. & O.J. Merne. 1988. Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis in Ireland, spring 1988. Irish Birds 3: 539-550.

    Ogilvie, M.A. 1983. The numbers of Greenland Barnacle Geese in Britain and Ireland. Wildfowl 34: 77-88. Download

    Ogilvie, M.A. & H. Boyd. 1975. Greenland Barnacle Geese in the British Isles. Wildfowl 26: 139-147. Download

    Boyd, H. 1968. Barnacle Geese in the west of Scotland, 1957-67. Wildfowl 19: 96-107. Download

Dark-bellied Brent Goose supplementary counts

Dark-bellied Brent Geese have been monitored annually in the UK through the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) since the 1940s. During the 1970s and 80s, the population grew rapidly and associated with that growth was the increasing use of inland habitats by the geese for foraging. As a result, supplementary censuses of the population were undertaken between 1985/86 and 1994/95 that included extra effort to cover those sites not already monitored by WeBS.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose age assessments

Age assessments made at wintering and stop-over sites are used to determine the annual reproductive success of goose populations. Dark Bellied Brent Goose age assessments have been carried out at many UK wintering sites every year since 1985.

The age assessment report was discontinued after the 2007 breeding season. Detailed results for 2008 onwards are posted on the latest results page for Dark-bellied Brent Goose and summarised in GooseNews.

Find out more about goose age assessments

Feeding distributions of geese in the UK

WWT have undertaken several projects looking at the feeding distribution of geese in the UK. This information is becoming increasingly important for advising on changes in land use, such as wind farm developments, for looking at potential conflicts between geese and people, and for safeguarding important habitats for geese.

Find out more about our work on goose feeding distributions.

  • Feeding distribution reports

    Bell, M.C. & E.C. Rees. 1994. The distribution of Pink-footed and Greylag Geese in relation to agriculture in Britain. Report to Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. Download

    Brides, K., Mitchell, C. & Hearn R.D. 2013. Mapping the distribution of feeding Pink-footed Geese in England. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust / Natural England Report, Slimbridge. 43pp. Download

    Brooks, P. & C. Mitchell. 1996. Winter bird surveys on proposed Special Protection Areas in Scotland, 1995-96: Greenland White-fronted Geese in Kintyre. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge.

    Cranswick, P.A. 1992. Distribution of Pink-footed and Greylag Geese in South-east Scotland, especially in relation to disturbance. Report to Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. Download

    Hearn, R.D. & C. Mitchell. 1995. Goose Distribution and Feeding around Loch Leven NNR. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage. WWT, Slimbridge. Download

    Hearn, R.D., C. Mitchell, I. Munro & M. Ness. 1996. Goose Distribution and Feeding around Loch Leven NNR. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage. WWT, Slimbridge. Download

    Mitchell, C. 2012. Mapping the distribution of feeding Pink-footed and Iceland Greylag Geese in Scotland. Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust / Scottish Natural Heritage Report, Slimbridge. Download

    Rowell, H.E. & J.A. Robinson. 2004. Feeding areas for Dark-bellied Brent Geese Branta bernicla bernicla around Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in the UK. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. Download

    Stenhouse, I.J. 1993. Grey geese in the Moray Firth. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage. WWT, Slimbridge. Download

Waterbird Review Series

The Waterbird Review Series brings together up to four decades of data and knowledge from the long-term monitoring programmes of swan and migratory goose populations that winter in Britain and Ireland. In each review, introductory sections describe abundance, distribution and ecology, particularly in Britain and Ireland but also through the population’s range. Gaps in our knowledge are identified and the conservation threats facing the population are described. Central to each review is a detailed inventory of important sites, where numbers and trends are presented along with a summary of site protection status, habitats and site usage by the population. This includes all internationally and nationally important sites in the late 1990s, but also sites of former importance where numbers have declined.

Download the Waterbird Review series below

Note: Although not part of this series, a review of the Greenland White-fronted Goose in Ireland and Britain 1982/83-1993/94 (Fox et al. 1994) has previously been published and is available from the Greenland White-fronted Goose Study web site (greenlandwhitefront.org).