Swan song

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild November -

Peter Scott noted in his 1980 book Ob­ser­va­tions of Wildlife that the breed­ing grounds of Bri­tish and Ir­ish whooper swans were a mys­tery. “We favour the Scan­di­na­vian/Rus­sian the­ory,” he mused. Ring­ing has since shown that our win­ter­ing pop­u­la­tion is Ice­landic. Af­ter an epic flight last­ing 12–13 hours, close to the limit for such heavy birds, the ‘su­per whoop­ers’ make land­fall in west­ern Scot­land and Ire­land in late Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber. Then soon head on to favoured wet­lands, trum­pet­ing as they go.

TOP TIP

See whooper feeds at WWT Wel­ney, Martin Mere and Caerlave­rock: wwt.org.uk

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