White-fronted Goose – records

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant.

Earlier records are summarised in White-fronted Goose 2008

YearGreenland raceEurasian raceRace not specified
2009Four flew past Strumble Head on 2nd Nov (AR One With Canada Geese flew over Skomer at midday on 30″ Oct
201016 birds (13 Ad & 3 juv) were reported from various sites in the Marloes area from 31st Jan until 17th Apr. They were also seen on Skomer on 6th & 7th Mar & 8th Apr.In October two were at Newgale on 20thTwo were seen at St Justinians on 5th May
2011  A single was seen in the company of two Greylags at Slebech Park on 9th Apr
2012A single at Penberi from 1st Jan until the 13th then two at St. Davids Airfield from 5th to 10th April, these two plus another bird were probably the three seen at Ivor’s pond from 15th to 17th of same month. In November four were at Marloes Mere from 2nd until 10th  
2014 A single bird in flight over Skokholm on 18th May and probably the same bird at Marloes the next day until 21st May. 
201515 birds at Treehill Farm, Marloes on 15th Nov. A single bird seen on Skomer & around the Marloes area from 9th until 21st May
2016Six at Skomer then Marloes 4th Nov had decreased to five by the 20th they were then seen on Skokholm on the late afternoon of the 6th until dusk but not seen subsequently.  
2017A group of eight over Skomer on 29th Oct and seven in the Marloes area on 4th Nov. Four noted flying over Skomer, on 27th Oct, on the 29th, a flock of 12 on the 29th, with further flocks of 15 and nine on the same day and finally 13 on 2nd Nov.
2018Seven at Marloes Mere 26th Oct, presumably the same as at Dale Airfield 29th Oct, one of which was sporting a neck collar – details here. 14 at Trevine Common 26th Oct – 16th Nov. One passed Strumble Head 23rd Sept
2020Seven at the Gann 24 Jan (also seen at Marloes Mere the following day) a single there 25 Dec and two on Skokholm 13 Oct were the only records received.

More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire

White-fronted Goose – colour-marked birds

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant

All records relate to birds of the Greenland race A.a. flavirostris: seven at Marloes Mere 26th Oct, presumably the same as at Dale Airfield 29th Oct, one of which was sporting a neck collar CDZ – put on at Wexford in March 2003. 14 at Trevine Common 26th Oct – 16th Nov.

The above records from the Pembrokeshire Bird Report 2018

Tony Fox (Greenland White-fronted Goose Study) confirmed the bird at the airfield was CDZ, as seen by Brian and Paul G on Sunday. Tony gave a bit more of his biography and sightings:

This was first autumn male we caught at a place called Hvanneyri in west Iceland on 23 September 2017.  This site is the home of the Agricultural University of Iceland where they maintain a large area of hayfields adjacent to natural wetlands which are a magnet for the White-fronted Geese in both spring and autumn when they pass through.  We are not entirely sure of his parents, as he associated with two other collared individuals V3Y and a bird fitted with a telemetry collar (both adult females when they were caught in the same catch), as well as a unmarked adult that obviously escaped capture on that occasion whilst in Iceland following capture.  You will see on the attached list of all resightings of marked Greenland White-fronted Geese away from Wexford (where the vast majority are marked and resighted) your bird wintered last year on Wexford Slobs (as do many of the geese that stage in Hvanneyri), where it was also seen with the same marked/unmarked associates.  Interestingly, CDZ was not seen at Hvanneyri this autumn, which is somewhat unusual, since as well as being incredibly site loyal to their winter quarters, these geese also tend to use the same spring and autumn staging areas in successive seasons. Andrew Simms, Pembs Bird Blog

Skokholm 2014 – colour-marked bird – A vocal White-fronted Goose which headed west over the Farm on 10th November was the first record since 16 on 14th March and 12th April 2010 (RDB). Distant views of a departing goose would not usually lead to sub-specific identification, but close inspection of a distant photograph revealed an orange neck collar and white darvic ring. Although the inscriptions which would have identified the individual were illegible at such a range, the combination of collar and ring show this to be one of over 2600 birds ringed in Greenland (T. Fox pers. comm.). The two subspecies of White-fronted Goose to occur in Wales have both been recorded on Skokholm, although where sub-specific identification has been possible it is Greenland White-fronted Goose A. a. flavirostris which has proven commonest. Skokholm Bird Report 2014

More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire

White-fronted Goose – 2008

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant

Status

The nominate race A.a.albifrons breeds across the tundra of Siberia, those in the western part of the range wintering in North West Europe, including the UK. The Greenland race A.a.flavirostris breeds in Western Greenland and winters in Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Mathew (1894) described the White-fronted Goose as an occasional visitor in severe weather but specifically mentioned only its occurrence at Goodwick and one at Fishguard in December 1890.

Bertram Lloyd(1939) did not encounter the species in Pembrokeshire but inspected a mounted specimen at Mellaston Farm which had been bagged there on the 5th November 1929, it having been in the company of another which flew away.

Lockley et al (1949) cite five at Dale on 20th December 1938 and two shot at Newgale in February 1947 or 1948. They also vaguely stated “passes over the islands on migration, sometimes landing for a short time”.  However Betts (1992) noted that occasional sightings of “grey geese” at Skokholm may refer to Whitefronts but the first definite record was not until eight seen on the 25th October 1954.

Donovan and Rees (1994) noted an influx during the arctic winter of 1963 and a fairly regular passage of small flocks in October and November.

Race

The majority of records where the birds were seen well enough could be ascribed to the Greenland race A.a.flavirostris. During the period of this review up to 600 of this race regularly wintered at Cors Caron but ceased to do so after 1968 but an average of 140 have wintered on the Dyfi Estuary in recent years, both these localities being in neighbouring Ceredigion (Roderick and Davis, 2001). However, much larger numbers have wintered throughout the period in Ireland, the closest to Pembrokeshire being at Wexford Slobs. It seems likely that most of those seen in Pembrokeshire were moving between these populations. 

Birds of the Greenland race, A.a.flavirostris, were identified in the Castle Martin area during the large influx in the arctic winter of 1963. Many of the others encountered in January at other coastal areas, like Ramsey, Skomer, Marloes, Broad Haven (N), Newgale and Goodwick, were of the Siberian race A.a.albifrons. At least 370 birds were involved countywide and those at Ramsey stayed there until the 3rd March. The Greenland birds were probably from a frozen Cors Caron, the Siberian birds most likely were from the population which wintered at that time on the Afon Twyi at Dryslwyn. One shot at St Justinian’s in January 1963 had been ringed in Holland in January 1960.

The only other records of A.a.albifrons were: three at St Davids airfield from the 27th January to the 4th February 1998, two at Skokholm on the 9th November 2002 and one with the Teifi Valley Canada Geese flock from the 4th December 2005 to March 2006.    

Passage

Autumn passage was recorded in 75% of the years 1980 – 2008. This principally occurred in October and November but two passed Strumble Head on the 2nd September 1988 and eight were at Marloes Mere on the 20th September 1990.

Total recorded per annum 1986 to 2008.

Passage was heaviest in 1991, when 94 passed Strumble Head on one day and in 1996 when a group of 100 passing along the coast paused on Ramsey Island. Most records refer to birds flying through the area in close proximity to the coast but some parties were seen to stop to feed, the St David’s district being particularly favoured in this respect.  

White-fronted Geese have been recorded in coastal regions on seven occasions in the spring, in March and April, with one lingering on Skokholm until the 1st May 1990. One or two birds at a time were involved apart from 40-50 at Ramsey on the 3rd March 1963 and 14 at Newgale on the 21st March 1998.

Winter

Normally there have been very few White-fronted Geese recorded in Pembrokeshire during the winter, where winter is taken as being from December to February, being recorded in only 16 years between 1938 and 2006. Normally between one and five birds were involved, with eight in 1987, nine in 2001, 15 in 1967, 22 in 1967 and 370 in1963.

The numbers seen in 1963 were exceptional and were caused by the arctic winter which gripped the whole of North West Europe, when birds of many species moved westwards in search of more amenable conditions.

 Otherwise winter occurrence has been sporadic and most birds were only seen for a few days but individuals have over wintered attached to Canada Geese flocks at the Western Cleddau and Teifi Valley. All records were from or near the coast apart from 22 at Llys y fran Reservoir in February 1967.

BETTS. M. 1992. Birds of Skokholm, BioLine, Cardiff.

DONOVAN. J and REES. G. 1994. Birds of Pembrokeshire, Dyfed Wildlife Trust.

LLOYD. B. 1929-1939 Diaries, National Museum of Wales.

LOCKLEY. R. M, INGRAM. C. S. and SALMON. H. M.1949. The birds of Pembrokeshire, West Wales Field Society.

MATHEW. M. 1894. The birds of Pembrokeshire and its islands, R. H. Porter.

RODERICK.H and DAVIS. P. 2010. Birds of Ceredigion, The Wildlife

More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire

White-fronted Goose – 1994

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant

Mathew (1894) refers to the White-fronted Goose as an occasional winter visitor in severe weather while Lockley et al. (1949) give four records and say that it passes over the islands on migration.

Nowadays, one or two occasionally drop in to stay awhile during the winter, sometimes attaching themselves to the Canada Goose flock on the Cleddau Estuary. Several flocks of between 30 and 130 Eurasian White-fronts, subspecies albifrons, took refuge in coastal districts, such as Marloes and Merrion, during the severe winter of 1963, arriving in January with some staying into March.

There seems to be a fairly regular passage of small flocks of up to 16 Greenland White-fronts, subspecies flavirostris, in October and November, with occasional occurrences from 2 September, probably birds on their way to Ireland. An exceptionally large passage of five flocks totalling 94 birds passing westwards occurred at Strumble Head on 17 October 1991, when a few also passed Caldey. One or two are occasionally seen on passage between March and early May.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire

White-fronted Goose – 1980s winter

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant

Two White-fronted Geese were recorded in Pembrokeshire for the BTO winter atlas during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. They were of the Greenland race Anser albifrons flavirostris.

Data collected by volunteers for the BTO. Lack, P. 1986 Atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. T & A.D. Poyser.

More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire

White-fronted Goose – 1949

Anser albifrons albifrons

Mathew records it from Goodwick, and one from Fishguard, Dec 1890. 

One shot Angle, 5 Nov 1929 out of two feeding in a field (Bertram Lloyd).  Five Dale, 20 Dec 1938; passes over the islands on migration, sometimes landing for a short time (R.M.L.).  Two, shot Newgale (Feb 1949 and Dec 1948)

R.M.Lockley, G.C.S.Ingram, H.M.Salmon, 1949, The Birds of Pembrokeshire, The West Wales Field Society

More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire

White-fronted Goose

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant

White-fronted Goose – records

Records of White-fronted Goose since 2009, extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports. Records are divided according to race.

White-fronted Goose – colour-marked birds

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant All records relate to birds of the Greenland race A.a. flavirostris: seven at Marloes Mere 26th Oct, presumably the same as at Dale Airfield 29th Oct, one of which was sporting a neck collar CDZ – put on at Wexford in March 2003. […]

White-fronted Goose – 2008

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant Status The nominate race A.a.albifrons breeds across the tundra of Siberia, those in the western part of the range wintering in North West Europe, including the UK. The Greenland race A.a.flavirostris breeds in Western Greenland and winters in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Mathew […]

White-fronted Goose – 1994

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant Mathew (1894) refers to the White-fronted Goose as an occasional winter visitor in severe weather while Lockley et al. (1949) give four records and say that it passes over the islands on migration. Nowadays, one or two occasionally drop in to stay awhile during the […]

White-fronted Goose – 1980s winter

Anser albifrons – GWYDD DALCEN-WEN – Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant Two White-fronted Geese were recorded in Pembrokeshire for the BTO winter atlas during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. They were of the Greenland race Anser albifrons flavirostris. More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire

White-fronted Goose – 1894

Anser albifrons An occasional winter visitor in severe weather. Has been seen by Sir Hugh Owen at Goodwick. One received by Jeffreys, the Haverfordwest bird-stuffer, from Fishguard, in December, 1890. Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands More about the White-fronted Goose in Pembrokeshire