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