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Domesticated Greylag Geese have existed in Wiltshire at least since the early Iron Age and the occasional records in the years up to the mid-1960s are most likely to have been of escapes from domesticated flocks rather than vagrants from genuinely wild populations. There were no records in Wiltshire in the 1968-72 Breeding Atlas but from the mid-1970s onwards increasing numbers began appearing, first in the Cotswold Water Park (CWP) and subsequently at other sites, believed to be derived from birds released by wildfowling interests.
    Breeding was first recorded at the CWP in 1976 and 1977 but not again until the 1990s. Since 1998 breeding has been recorded at the CWP in every year except 2002.
    Birds of Wiltshire recorded Greylag Geese present in the breeding season in 20 tetrads, with confirmed or probable breeding in five of them. Fieldwork for Bird Atlas 2007- 2011 recorded them in 33 tetrads, breeding in 13. The increase was almost entirely in the north of the county, particularly in the CWP, on the Swindon lakes and along the River Kennet.
    The past decade has also seen an increase in winter numbers. Birds of Wiltshire noted that winter flocks “usually do not exceed 20” though a count of 115 was recorded at Inglesham in February 1997, at the time a record for the county. Winter numbers at the CWP began to increase from 2001 onwards and there have been totals in excess of 100 every year since 2008. The CWP record now stands at 225, in November 2011, while the Inglesham record has increased to140, in January 2011.
    The breeding season relative abundance change map in Bird Atlas 2007- 2011 showed no significant change anywhere in Wiltshire.

 

References
The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.


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