Flanders Moss NNR
We had a welcome but less common visitor to Flanders yesterday. When out at the lochan I found this family of whooper swans. They will have flown in this autumn most probably from Iceland. The group of 6 is actually a family group: the male and female have adult beaks (yellow and black) and clean white plumage. The other 4 will be this year’s young; they still have dirty white grey feathers and a monochrome bill. The family will stick together for the whole winter, moving around farmland feeding on stubble fields and young oil-seed rape. The adults tend to return to the same area each winter so it may be that I have seen this pair in past years. A family of 4 young is a good number especially this year when there has been concern about the low number of youngsters being seen this winter as it seems that they may have had a bad breeding season in Iceland.
My favourite bit of a whooper swan is the whooping noise it makes. They make this fantastic bugling yodel of a call either when on land or when flying over and it can be the icing on the cake of a cold, bright winter morning when a group might fly over.
So if you are out and about around Flanders Moss this weekend, check out any swans you see as not every swan is the common mute swan.