Thursday, 20 February 2014

Colour-ringed Whoopers

Last Friday, I had to travel up to County Donegal to speak to the Inishowen Wildlife Club. If you've never visited Inishowen, I would highly recommend it as it is one of the finest parts of Ireland and I love any excuse to visit.

It was a bit touch and go on the way as the weather over the Glenshane Pass was, what can only be described as, wintery! Lorries and vans struggled to make it over the Pass and I luckily just made it through before they closed it for a time.

This delay meant that I didn't make it up to Donegal as early as I had hoped, so my planned birding around Inch was scuppered. I did however, spend a bit of time checking flocks of feeding whooper swans for colour-rings and was rewarded with two ringed birds, BUS and ABC.

Via the wonder of modern technology, I contacted Kane Brides at WWT through Twitter and was able to find out that BUS was ringed as a moulting adult by him and Jon Middleton during a visit to Iceland last summer. This is the first time it has been seen since.

Photo by Kane Brides
ABC had been ringed as a cygnet at Sigurdarstadatjorn, Fljotsheidi, Iceland in 2010 and has been recorded at WWT Martin Mere in November 2010 and November 2012, with a sighting in Cambridgeshire in March 2012. My sighting at Inch is the second this winter, after it was reported there back in November.

At the end of my talk to the wildlife club, I put out a request for the members to report any other sightings of colour-ringed swans to Kane and earlier this week, Brian Hegarty got in touch to say he had seen AXL in Co. Tyrone.

Photo by Brian Hegarty
It had been ringed in 2012 and spent last winter at Martin Mere.

If you have any sightings of colour-ringed Whooper Swans, you can report them to

Thanks to Kane for the information and photos and to Brian for reporting AXL and allowing me to use his photo.

No comments:

Post a Comment