SURVEYS OF CAPE BARREN GEESE Cereopsis novaehollandiae IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA, 1987-1992

Cape Barren Geese were counted on islands along the south coast of Western Australia between the summers of 1987-88 and 1991-92. Four surveys were conducted in summer and one in winter. They covered islands from the Recherche Archipelago westward to Eclipse Island. Geese were found on 50 islands, of which 48 were in the Recherche Archipelago. The largest number of geese was recorded during the most detailed survey, in February 1992, when 200 live and 19 dead birds were seen on 36 islands of the Recherche Group. Another 32 live geese were seen on the mainland near Esperance, making a total of 251 birds in February 1992. Three geese were seen in the 1989-90 summer west of the Recherche Archipelago, on West Island and Hauloff Rock. The winter survey (June 1990) revealed 150 birds on 19 islands of the Archipelago. Sixteen nests distributed over 12 of the islands contained an average of 4.0 eggs (s.e. 0.39, range 0-6). It is likely that higher numbers would be recorded if surveys were conducted during their breeding season (April-November), because some Cape Barren Geese disperse to the mainland after breeding on islands in the Recherche Archipelago.

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