The 2003 Icelandic-breeding Goose Census
Rowell, H. and Hearn, R.
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The Icelandic-breeding Goose Census (IGC) is coordinated by The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and has been conducted annually since 1960; it relies principally on a network of dedicated volunteer observers to collect data. The results are published by The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, in partnership with JNCC.


The 44th consecutive census of Iceland/Greenland Pink-footed Geese and Iceland Greylag Geese took place during autumn and early winter 2003.  Two discrete counts were undertaken, one in October and another in November.  Some sites were also counted during September.  Coverage was good, although some important sites were not surveyed, and were again extended beyond Britain and Ireland, with a number of sites in Norway counted, and comprehensive coverage achieved in the Faeroe Islands.
Weather conditions were generally considered favourable.  Maxima of 274,594 Pink-footed Geese and 80,143 Greylag Geese were recorded in November.  These figures were adjusted to account for major sites that were not counted and for the number of Greylag Geese from the Re-established and NW Scotland populations in the UK counted prior to this census, resulting in population estimates of 280,998 Pink-footed Geese and 81,131 Greylag Geese.  Both population estimates were higher than those calculated for 2002:  the Pink-footed Goose estimate represents and increase of 22.3% and that for Greylag Goose, an increase of 11.0%.  However, counts in 2002 were highly likely to have considerably underestimated true abundance for both species; comparing the 5-year running means for 2002 and 2003, the population estimate for Pink-footed Goose increased by 4.3%, and that for Greylag Goose decreased by 0.5%.
Pink-footed Geese had a good breeding season in 2003: autumn flocks contained 19.0% young (mean proportion of young 1993-2002: 18.3%, 0.79 s.e.) and mean brood size was 2.2 goslings per successful pair (mean brood size 1993-2002: 2.3, 0.05 s.e.)  Breeding success in Greylag Geese was also above average: autumn flocks contained 20.5% young (mean 1993-2002: 17.7%, 1.19 s.e.) and means brood size was 2.7 goslings per successful pair (mean 1993-2002: 2.6, 0.06 s.e.)


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Please cite as: Rowell, H. and Hearn, R., (2005), The 2003 Icelandic-breeding Goose Census, Online only