To Obs Page
Till observationssidan

Anser erythropus

observation details 2004-2005


This document contains the following reports

LWfG Observations in Iran Jan 8. 2005 (Jamsheed Mansoori)

I would like to inform you that I have been in south Uroomiyeh Lake 4 days ago and I could see 2 L.W.F.G. in Islam abad Wetland exactly south of the lake. Also in between 300 Greylag, I saw 1 L.W.F.G. in Bujagh wetland yesterday. Again I will go to fereydoun Kenar wetlands complex this week for mid-winter count, and will inform you of any L.W.F.G. observation. Best regards, Jamshid Mansoori E-mail : <>


Probable LWfG sighting in Syria (2004 Syria Wetland Expedition)

You might be interested in a very probable LWF Goose in Syria last (2004) Feb 2004. (unfortunately in flight and bad weather conditions. The determination could be "finished".) Birds were very shy due to high hunting pressure (compared to Belgian/Dutch birds)

(Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus)

B-team: 1 probable, Jabbul SE S Shore W134/135 (11.2). A 'strange' goose call, differing from the call of Greater White-fronted Goose was heard, described as higher-pitched and disyllabic. The sound was located coming from two geese flying in the distance. After 5 minutes, the call was heard again and (the) two geese flew overhead: one big goose and one small goose. Characteristics of the smaller goose compared to the larger were: smaller, shorter neck and smaller head (10-15% smaller); few or no bars on belly; the small bird seemed darker.

And to highlight the potential for LWF Goose there, I also add the observations GWFG Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons

A-team: 12 flying over, Euphrates above Lake Tishreen (10.1); 70 on lake and 70 flying over after dark, Lake Assad, W shore (12.1)

B-team: >5,000, Jabbul SE S Shore W134/135 (11.2); 500, Jabbul NE, JNE1 (12.2); 500, Lake Tishreen river inlet (13.2)

C-team: 2,307 Lower Khabur reservoir (21.2); 7,600, southern Sabkhat al-Jabbul (27.2)

Assessment of status: winter visitor, usually in low numbers but with a significant population on Sabkhat al-Jabbul. Comment: confined to large waterbodies where they can detect potential threats at long range.


Autumn migration in Kazakhstan 27 September - 12 October (Sergei Yerokhov)

Preliminary report:

I am inform you that the Autumn LWFG monitoring on the Kostanay Region we are have done on the period of 27 September - 12 October. And the main advance result - it was a very unusual migrating season. We controlled 13 key sites for the geese roosting and feeding, but not more than 30 thousands of geese was registred, up to 700 LWFG and 5000 RBG including. The ecological situation on the lakes of the Northern part of Kostanay region ( Kamushovoe-Zhaman, Zhaksu-Zharkol, Khak) and on the Eastern part (Tuntugur-Zhansura and Koybagar lakes) was favourable - enough water and a moderate of the hunting influence (Tuntugur excluding). But the big geese concentrations was not there. Local inspectors ( I know them many years already) informed that 2 migrating waves they are registred on the usual datas: 10-15 September (first, not very numerous) and 18-22 September (very numerous: Koybagar Lake - 100 000, Kulykol Lake - 300 000, up to 8 000 LWFG including ). But, on the all this lakes geese are not stay a long time - after the 2-3 days roosting they a left the lakes. What is a main reason for this - I should be to think. For the every key site there was a separate negative factors, probably. For the Kulykol lakes - not enough water and a very high salt level. If you are remember there was a big open water site on the south part of this lake on the last year. This area are dry on this year.

Before the expedition starting, I get information about the satellite marking LWFG control from the Karakamush (Kundyktu) lake area - 22 September signal, (about 40 km. from the Kulykol lake to the South-West). We are visited this lake on the 8 October, but about 2 thousands geese only (AnAn and AnAlb) controlled there. It is a saltish lake with the big reedbeds.

On the aditional, we are visited on the 9-12 October a group of the lakes on the far South part of Kostanay Region (my first visit of this area). It is a very important, key site for migrating geese ( about 220 000 we are controled) but for the AnAnser and AnAlbifrons, 6 LWFG only. This lakes (Zharkol, Sybyndykol, Taldykol and some other) are supported another geese flyway, I think - from the Yirtysh River (Northern-East Kazakhstan) and the Tengyz-Kurgaldjin lakes system. And this our visit are very impotant for the comparison and future analyzis.

However, the results of this Autumn LWFG monitoring are interesting. The age structure of the separate flocks are shoved that the number of the young birds are predominate - 65-70%. And more ofterner then the previos seasons we observed LWFG on the Northern part (Zhaksy-Zharkol), where the water situatuon was good.

I will make full analyzis on the final project report.

Thank you for the support of this expedition.

Final report:

The Project "Monitoring of Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) migration during the Autumn period in Kustanai Oblast, North-West Kazakhstan" in 2004", Report.

Executed under support of the "Friends of the Lesser White-fronted Goose" Association, Finland

Project Participants:

The annual tracking of the autumn population of Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) and other migratory goose species at the stopover sites has been performed in Kustanai area since 1997. The research has established that at least 50% "western" population of Lesser White-fronted Goose migrate to the area totaling 15000 species (see Yerokhov at al., 2000). The data collected from monitoring provide an objective estimation of the condition of this population especially the annual number, migration period and the stopover features. In addition the monitoring has provided some other data with regards to biology and ecology of this endangered species.

However due to mild winter conditions seen for the last 4-5 years and summer droughts the environmental situation within the stopover sites i Kustanai area has considerably worsened. As a consequence the number of Lesser White-fronted Goose and other goose species at the monitored lakes have lowered and the stopover period has shortened. Due to the above-mentioned reasons the migratory flights recorded by the observers in many regions became more evident as compared to the previous years. The food resources has diminished mainly due to the shrinkage of areas under the crops. It was especially evident in autumn 2004 when grain-crops have ripened very early due to dry and hot weather conditions and mass flights of geese: during the third decade of September the crop has basically been harvested and the fields have been ploughed. Under the influence of these adverse factors the cycles of goose flights observed in recent years and the local feeding travel have impaired. One of the evidences was the behavior of two Lesser White-fronted Geese marked by satellite transmitters at the nesting place in a lower courses of the Ob River, Russia: they have traveled to the area of Kulykol and Ike lakes, western part of Kostanai oblast near the Russian border, for 2 days (personal record provided by V.V.Morozov, T.Arvak, see also website In our view the lack of water in the lakes and the lack of food in the fields determine a long delay and movements from one lake to another. 24 days after the arrival one of the birds has obviously been killed by the hunters. The second bird stayed at the site for 45 (!) days and migrated to Iraq via the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Taking in account the high scientific and practical interest shown to the Lesser White-fronted Goose and other accompanying goose species during migrations (Red-Breasted Goose under worldwide protection, Grey Large Goose and White-Fronted Goose as the object of popular hunting in many countries), the future research in Kustanai oblast specifically will be necessary in terms of the environmental conditions. Probably, we need to make some adjustments to the field observations methods used.

Weather conditions:

Summer period 2004 in the northern part of Kazakhstan including Kustanai region was characterized by hot and dry weather. The previous winter period was also characterized by the low snowfall factor. As a result, many lakes being the stop-over places for the migratory goose species including Kulykol lake have considerably shoaled and became of little use for dwelling. At the beginning of autumn migration, the last decade of August, through the whole September the air temperature remained high and reached + 250C, later though, after cyclone in October, 2-4, the temperature has dropped to frosts thus considerably accelerating migration. Another even colder cyclone was followed by a plentiful snowfall (October, 14-16) and further temperature fall had a great impact on the goose species that left Kustanai oblast.

Materials, methods, period and the areas of research:

The standard methods used to quantify the migratory goose species including the records at studied platforms, the records of separate flocks during the daytime flights from lake to the feeding places, and selective records of flights or gatherings during the daytime rest on water or on the coastal areas. The records have been strengthened by the questionnaire data received from hunting specialists in Uzunkol, Karasu, Kamystinsk regions and Arkalyk, and also the examination of the hunters' prey. The study conducted from September 27 to October 11 covered 13 lakes known earlier as the main stopover sites for the Lesser White-fronted Geese located in northeastern, eastern and western regions of the oblast. In addition, Zharkol Lake adjacent to the southeast of Kustanai and southwest of Akmola Oblast at the watershed of Irgiz-Turgai and Nura-Kyurgaldzhin water basins has been studied under the comparative plan.


Migration period: In the northern part of Kostanai area migration of the northern geese (small flocks of White-Fronted Geese and Red-Breasted Geese) has been recorded on August 31, 2004. Their number has considerably increased in Kamyshevoye-Zhaman and Zhaksy-Zharkol lakes in the period of September 12-20. That was the time of increased number of Grey Geese reasoned by migration of the northern populations. In the eastern part, Tontegirsky hollow, the migration of surveyed species started in usual time, i.e. at the end of the first decade of September. Further the number has periodically increased by the end of the month reaching 15-20 thousand, but only for the short-term period of 1-2 days. Quantitatively the White-Fronted Geese have prevailed in the area. Following the questionnaire data(hunting specialists information), the first LWFG species have been registered on September 12-15 in Kulykol lake, and the maximum number reached 8000 birds by September 21-22. However on September 23 most of the birds left the lake. Later on by the end of migration period (3rd decade of September) the number decreased to 1000. During the period under research the intensive transit migration was registered on October 3-4 in Alabota lake (520 01N 630 35E, Koibagar lake region). About 80 000 White-fronted and Grey Large Geese have flew to the southwest for the two days. On October 5 and 6, similar flight to the west was reported in the area of two lakes with no names (52006N 610 59E), approximately 50 km to the northwest of Kulykol lake where about 70 000 geese have been counted, mainly Grey Large Geese.

Migrating goose number.

The record data received by us (Lesser White-fronted Goose species have been counted 3 times less than in 2003 and 11 times less than in 2002) reflect environmental conditions at the stopover sites of Lesser White-fronted Goose and other goose species and can be used mainly for the comparative analysis of suitability of each of these lakes. Nevertheless, supplemented with the questionnaire data received from the inspectors who supervise hunting in the area of Koibagar, Tontegir and especially Kulykol lakes, our information gives the general picture of the population of Lesser White-fronted Goose and other goose species in the period of autumn migration through Kustanai Oblast. Totally 57579 birds of various species have been recorded on the 13 surveyed lakes (see Table 1).




A. ans.























































































































Table 1. The number of LesserWhite-fronted Goose and other goose species found at the surveyed lakes in the period between September 28 &endash; October 8, 2004: _
Age structure:

Since the large gatherings of geese have not been found during our lake survey, we have limited data about the age structure and the groupings surveyed. We have identified the age of 94 Lesser White-fronted geese including 31 adult birds, and 63 young birds that made a ratio of 33:67. The prevalence of young birds is the evidence of successful reproduction of the observed population in Kustanai Oblast.

Hunting influence:

Due to a very small number of all goose species at the surveyed lakes, the lakes were not attractive for hunters as well; therefore we had no opportunity to inspect the hunters' bags. Only at the lake Alabota we have seen 11 hunted geese, 4 of them were White-fronted geese and 7 Large Grey geese. However, we can assume that the adverse impact of hunting on the population of the Lesser White-fronted geese in Kustanai Oblast was significant in 2004. First of all, it is evidenced by the tracking data of Lesser White-fronted geese marked by PTT Satellite Transmitters: one of the two birds marked that reached Kustanai region (_10866) was probably killed by the hunter. Also, according to the espondents 6 of 17 geese killed by hunters on September 25-26 near the lake Biyesoigan were Lesser White-fronted geese. This fact raises a great deal of concern. 2 hunters who were our respondents during the survey exercise were not aware that Lesser White-fronted Goose is enlisted in the List of Specially Protected Birds of Kazakhstan. Certainly, further awareness activities among hunters are necessary to raise the level of awareness about the status of Lesser White-fronted Goose.


Thus, the monitoring research of the main stop-over sites of the Lesser White &endash;fronted Goose in the period of autumn migration through Kustanai Oblast has shown that the migration period and the approximate number have been comparable to the similar figures as of the previous years. However, an insufficient water level in a number of the most important lakes especially Lake Kulykol and its significant salinity was the reasons of the fact that Lesser White-fronted geese and other goose species do not stay there for a long period and make no large gatherings. The number of Lesser White-fronted Geese registered by us (879 birds) makes 1,5% total number of all goose species. This is the lowest figure for the last 8 years of tracking the number of geese in autumn in this region, in the previous years the number ranged from 2,7 to 3,3%. Apparently, among other goose species seen during the autumn migration in Kustanai Oblasst the Lesser White-fronted geese are most sensitive towards the changing environment at the stopover sites, specifically towards the shrinkage and salinization of the lakes.

LWfG tagged in Siberia in summer 2004 (Vladimir Morozov and WWF/Piskulka Page)

Tracking results were removed from here. Please, see directly