Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mute Swan update

There's some exciting stuff to share about the pair of Mute Swans nesting at the Freshwater Causeway.

I submitted the details of the leg rings and, on Saturday evening, received an e-mail from David Stone who writes:

"The birds were ringed as part of a long-term study I am carrying out on the Hampshire Avon. As IOW is outside of my core study area it is always helpful to receive details of birds on the Island.

B9C was first ringed as an adult female in 2004 at Christchurch and N3V as a first year bird, also at Christchurch but in 2009. B9C was originally paired to TSS but since 2010 has been with N3V. Generally the males tend to be the older bird of a pair, so this pairing is a little unusual. I have
attached an excel spreadsheet, which gives the sighting histories of this pair. This is the first year that I have had a report of them nesting, so it would be useful if you could let me know the outcome."

The excel sheet reveals that the female was first reported from The Causeway in February 2005, when it was paired with TSS. 2 years later, in February 2007 it was located at The Causeway again with TSS, though it had spent some of the intervening time at Yarmouth and, over the water at Christchurch and Milford-on-Sea. It seems to have spent most of the next few years on the other side of the Solent apart from the time that it was reported paired up with N3V at Yarmouth in April 2010. It's been really fascinating to learn their history!

On Friday evening, I found these birds engaging in some feeding activity that I've never seen before:

I'd never realised that 'Duck Soup' might form part of the menu of these birds. Mute Swans are very territorial and I wonder if they might even have been responsible for the demise of this unfortunate bird in the first place? Is it my imagination, or does the drake Mallard at the end of the clip appear to be distressed? :-(

To end on a brighter note, here's a clip of a Mallard family present at Yarmouth on Saturday morning with some accompanying music! How many ducklings can you count?


  1. Your first video quite shocked me, never mind the drake!

    A sweet video of the ducklings, were there 12, or more?

  2. Sad video, but the ducklings made up for it. I counted 12 too toffeeapple!!