Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Whoopers are back at Martin Mere WWT

I paid a quick visit to Martin Mere WWT this afternoon mainly to see the Whooper Swans which have now arrived back on their Autumn migration from Iceland. Up to 2000 return from their breeding grounds every year to spend winter here along with an estimated 20,000 Pink-footed Geese.

Around 300 Whooper Swans are currently present and there seem to be a few family groups with plenty of cygnets around. Naturally they are very noisy, especially around feeding time.

There was even a Black Swan present today which is said to have appeared with the Whoopers. Black Swans originate from Australia and any that are seen in the UK are usually escapes from collections which have become feral birds.

However, some Black Swans are said to have also been seen in Iceland and so the origins of this particular bird are uncertain. I don't care whether I can tick it or not, it's still a magnificent beast and with a neck like that it could probably do some serious damage.

A very nice surprise was to see ten or twelve Ruff picking up the seed scraps after the swan feed. At first I thought there were a few Redshank in there too, as they showed quite a variety of leg and bill colour. But on closer inspection they proved to be definitely all Ruff.

But the day was a day that really belonged to the Whoopers, so I'll let them have the last word.

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