Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Whooper Swans...

Flatey island has to be the best ringing expedition I have ever witnessed, so when we were due to leave on Sunday 25th July, I was somewhat sad to leave such a delightful and peaceful island. However, our fun didn't stop there and as stated before - we duly headed off to the North of Iceland to Akureyri with Sverrir Thorstensen a few days later, to help out with the Whooper swan work, in which Kane has been involved in over the past few years.. For the next 10 days we were to be based at Sverrir's house with his lovely wife Dorey Ketildottir. The day after we arrived, the work began!!

Every morning we were up early and out searching the many lakes around where Sverrir has been monitoring the Whooper swans for many years.. Once a Whooper swan family had been located on a lake, the fun began.. First job was to get as close as we could to the lake so we didn't need to carry the boat as far - motor attached - swan jackets and hook at the ready and off Sverrir went in search of the adults and cygnets...

Myself and Ciaran with the boat - complete with a mouthful of Blackflies

Adult Whooper Swan

Some days we managed to catch and Darvic at least 30 birds, but some days it was less than 20 as we had other things to do..

Whooper swan totals:-

82 new + 33 recaps

Brood of 6 cygnets and 1 adult

Whoopers swans have been ringed with Yellow darvics for the past 24 years {this is both in Iceland and the UK}, so when we had used up the last yellow darvic, it was time to change and begin the new scheme of red darvics.. A total of 82 Whoopers somewhere, wear bright new red darvics; so this winter, keep your eyes peeled and please, please.. send sightings to kanebrides@googlemail.com

There were times just like this one, where the lake was too weedy for the boat to go out, so...

These Whoopers were in for a shock!!

It wasn't just swans we were catching - Whilst on the look out for whoopers, we were also on the look out for any Golden plover or Whimbrel chicks..

Golden plover chick

Whimbrel chick

After 10 days > 7 new Golden plover + 3 new Whimbrel

With a combined effort with ringing totals from Flatey Island and the Whooper swan work -

2140 birds caught inc..

2035 new + 105 recaps

Myself and Ciaran also managed to catch 2 baby Ptarmigan chicks with our hands, however they were to small to take rings..

Once again, huge thanks to all who took part on an absolutely fantastic ringing expedition, Especially thanks to Kane Brides, Sverrir Thorstensen, Aevar Petersen, Solveig Bergs, Dorey Ketilsdottir, not forgetting Craig Brookes, Ciaran Hatsell, Steve and Tim Christmas... Cheers guys!!

Bring on Iceland 2011!!!

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