15. December 2009

77 Angelsey, Gwynedd

History: Highly confusing!  A-W (1963) reported that Russian and Greenland White-fronted Geese used to occur regularly, the latter dispersing in small flocks in many areas, suggesting less than 50 wintering annually on the island.  R&O (1979) stated more definitively that “in the last two or three years only Russian White-fronts have been seen on Angelsey”, but the majority of the reports were not defined to race.  Counts from the island as a whole were of the order of 10-68 between 1962/3 and 1977/8.  It does seem likely that Greenland birds have occurred with some regularity, but teasing the real status from the poor historical record is not now possible.
 
Status: Unknown, but whatever the earlier status, now abandoned as a regular resort, although it seems small numbers appear almost annually. Possibly of former regional importance (R&O “b”).  Up to 200 Greenland White-fronted Geese have been reported from the island (see Fox and Stroud 1986) and small numbers regularly occur throughout the island at a number of haunts to the present.  However, it is far from clear whether these together constitute a regular wintering “site”.  The main area used by Whitefronts in the past, Llyn Bodgylched, has variously been claimed to support Russian and Greenland White-fronted Geese, although the latter were definitely present in December 1980.  Up to 52 may have been present (largely distributed between Llyn Alaw and Llyn Trafwll), but only 13 were reported in 1996/97 and 4 in 1997/98.  There is still a clear need to establish the proper status of this flock on the island, but it would seem that in recent years, numbers have been small and their use of sites generally irregular.
 
Breeding success: No age ratio data are available for this site
 
Feeding sites and habitat: Formerly rough and improved grassland when they were reported, but generally little known.

References
 
Fox,A.D. & Stroud, D.A. (1986) The Greenland White-fronted Goose in Wales.  Nature in Wales n.s. 4: 20-27..