December 13th   Leave a comment

There is a flock of whooper swan in residence in a stubble field by the side of the road between Dunino and Kenly, at Bonnytown Farm. I counted 28 today, feeding peacefully mid-afternoon, although it was already dusk. I stopped the car right beside them and was able to watch these wild birds, like a herd of small dinosaurs from only 30 meters away. They watched me warily at first but soon relaxed back into their quiet, steady grazing, interspersed with an occasional muted trumpeting call. Like the curlews of last week I was minded of how nervous swans can be when they are hunted. Most of the whooper swans that come to us breed in Iceland and fly directly to us for the winter, without fear of being shot at, at either end. The Bewick’s swans that come to the UK from Siberia, however, have to run the gauntlet of rogue shooters all the way across Russia and Eastern Europe. Many have non-lethal amounts of lead shot in them to testify this. They are much warier and I would never get so close to such a relaxed flock as the whoopers today.

Whooper swan

Whooper swan

Posted December 13, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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