Swans on Hogganfield Loch, Glasgow
year since 1995 (perhaps before then too), two pairs of colour ringed
wild whooper swans have made the 500 mile journey from Iceland to
winter in the U.K.,choosing Hogganfield Loch as their base. One
female has a yellow, plastic numbered collar on her neck (some 15
cms in length), placed on her (and 195 other's) neck, as part of
a long-term study of their winter migration destinations, by the
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
I called in a few weeks ago, they were not there, so it was nice
to see the neck collared female, and her unringed mate (iron stained
on the breast and neck from the Iceland summer) had now arrived,
and were as tame as ever, on the 2nd December 1998. No signs of
the other pair, but perhaps other watchers have seen them.
in 1994, a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust expedition to Iceland succeeded
in ringing 194 of that country's special swans - the Whooper swan
with its yellow bill.
In addition to easily-read, yellow plastic leg rings, most have
a plastic neck collar fitted too, its large letters designed to
be read over long distances.
Icelandic Whooper swans winter in Britain and until a few years
ago, it was believed only here. Those originating from Siberia and
Scandinavia wintered in the low countries of Holland and Belgium.
It was generally assumed that the two populations never mixed. Now
it appears Icelandic swans regularly overshoot the UK to winter
in the Polders of Holland.
But not all of them. One of the neck-collared birds ringed in 1994
and her mate chose instead to winter on Glasgow's Hogganfield Loch,
with another pair from eastern Iceland.
This year, the second pair is accompanied by two cygnets who are
also rapidly learning how to survive a harsh winter through the
kind generosity of numerous Glaswegians.
To see such creatures, the epitomy of wild places, happily accepting
bread from your fingertips in a city park, is a remarkable sight.
Attacked swan destroyed
owners out and about with their pets near waterways will no doubt
have noticed that around April/May is the time of years when swans
nest. The female is usually incubating hard.
The Scottish SPCA recently advised dog-walkers to always keep dogs
on leads when near nesting swans as they witnessed an unpleasant
incident when an unleashed dog was attacked by a male swan protecting
his nest. The owner, desperately trying to save his dog, threw a
stone at the swan, shattering its wing.
This tragically resulted in the male swan having to be humanely
destroyed, all of which could have ben avoided had the dog been
on a lead in the first place.