Whooper Swans are primarily winter visitors to the UK, so it has been a bit of a surprise to find an immature bird here recently. Last weekend an adult bird arrived (pictured above). As can be seen in the photo it bears a colour ring and therefore I reported it to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. I have received the following details of its life history.
It was ringed at Anavatn, Jokuldalsheidi in Iceland on 17th August 2007. It was then recorded in Cambridgshire in January 2008 and January 2009, and seen again in Iceland in May 2009. Sightings of it in the Borders in November 2009 and Fife in March 2011 indicate its stopovers during migration, whilst it was back in Iceland in April 2012. There were then no further sightings until now, and clearly it prefers the Scarborough area to Iceland this summer.
A visit to the farm this morning to undertake a Breeding Bird Survey was as always an interesting experience. Sedge and Reed Warblers have now arrived in force and look like maintaining their population levels of last year. Two Garden Warbler territories is up on last year's disappointing single territory and I was was pleased to find a singing Spotted Flycatcher in Pheasant Cover, the first singing bird I have seen here. Two pairs of Curlew are present and a single pair of Yellow Wagtails was also pleasing. The first fledged Long-tailed Tits, Tree Sparrows and Rooks are now appearing and there are also broods of Mallard, Greylag Goose on the farm.
Recently fledged Long-tailed Tit.
Male Yellow Wagtail, one of a pair near the Old Irrigation Pond.
On the minus side, Yellowhammers seem to be down on last year and Lapwings are having another poor year. Unfortunately a nest was flooded out by recent rains and a pair that were behaving as though they had young also seem to have disappeared and are presumed to have failed. Territorial birds are present in the fields by Bogg Hall so hopefully they may nest and produce a brood or two, but at present it looks worryingly like we are on course for producing no chicks in 2014.