Mute swan feeding, video

This is a video about a mute swan feeding in Lauwersmeer national park in the Netherlands.

Piet Zuidema made the video.

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Bewick’s swan cygnet loses its parents

This video from England is called WWT Slimbridge: Bewick’s swans feeding on maize in the frost.

From Wildlife Extra:

Bewick’s swans migrate but leave cygnet behind

February 2014: A Bewick’s swan cygnet appears to have abandoned by his parents at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire. Yesterday WWT researcher Julia Newth, who recognises the hundreds of swans in the flock by their individual face markings, saw that one family had acquired an additional youngster.

The lone cygnet has latched onto Slimbridge regulars Wooton and Stinchcombe and their four cygnets, but is spending much of its time calling in the hope of being reunited with its own parents.

Bewick’s swans migrate in large family groups and due to recent mild weather all but 10 of the Slimbridge flock have departed already.

Julia Newth said: “Occasionally, cygnets become separated from their parents during migration when there is perhaps bad weather, but it is rather more unusual to see such a separation before the journey has begun.

“We’re all waiting to see whether the parents return. If they don’t, and the cygnet leaves with its adopted family, we will call on our extensive network of swan researchers along the 2,500 mile journey to Russia to keep an eye out for them and check whether the lone cygnet manages to stay with them.”

Away from Slimbridge, where the swans are uniquely recorded by their facial markings, the swans are tracked by coded plastic rings on their legs. The lone cygnet has not been ringed but its adopted parents, Wooton and Stinchcombe, have white leg rings with the codes BAU and BAS.

Along the 2,500 mile migration between Slimbridge and Arctic Russia, the swans rely heavily on a chain of wetland sites for opportunities to rest and feed.

The Bewick’s swan study at Slimbridge celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month. Its findings have opened up the social structure of Bewick’s swans’ lives, revealing their lifelong pairing and strong family bonds. The longest-running dynasty is known as the ‘gambling’ dynasty, after a young swan was ringed and named Casino in 1971. Over the years that she returned to WWT Slimbridge she brought back 32 cygnets, who in turn have brought back cygnets of their own. This winter, three generations of the family have stayed at WWT Slimbridge, bringing their own respective partners and families, making them one of the most dominant and successful dynasties in the flock.

The study has also revealed the occasional anomaly, such as in 2010 when a regular pair, Saruni and Sarindi, returned with different partners. It was only the second instance of a swan ‘divorce’ in the entire study of more than 4,000 pairs.

For more information on swans visit

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Whooper swan and ibis on Vlieland island

This video is about a whooper swan family in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen nature reserve in the Netherlands.

Anke Bruin, warden on Vlieland island, reports on rare birds there.

Recently, Ms Sophie van Amstel saw a glossy ibis flying there.

Last week, there was a whooper swan on a meadow. It was alone. Apparently, it had lost its family. Whooper swans usually don’t migrate individually.

Vlieland nature in 2013: here.

Black swan and coots

Black swans are originally from Australia. However, there are feral birds in Europe as well.

This video is by Aad Niehot from the Netherlands.

Two coots seem a bit apprehensive about the feeding black swan. Maybe it is too close to the coots’ nest?

Whooper swans and fox, video

This video was recorded in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen nature reserve, end of November 2012.

It shows whooper swans from the north, wintering here amidst ducks and coots in canals. Some of the swans are young (the greyish ones). On the snowy bank, a red fox.

The maker of the video is Alex Molin.

Whooper swans in Germany: here.

Good Dutch Bewick’s swans news

This video from England is called Bewick Swans WWT Slimbridge.

Translated from the blog of warden Anke Bruin, on Vlieland island, the Netherlands:

March 4, 2013 by Anke Bruin, Forestry Department

No less than 69 Bewick’s Swans, including 6 first year youngsters (still a little gray) rested in the third Kroon’s polder wetland. Even the Chinook helicopter of the Air Force did not drive them away, they are probably very tired. ​​This morning, colleague Herman Vogel ;-) mentioned the beautiful white birds. Bewick’s Swans have been in Vlieland earlier, but never such a big group. They are migrating from the south to the northern tundra and they are quite right, they just come here to rest and recharge.

A slide show about this is here (scroll down).

Also from Vlieland: this morning the first spoonbills of spring flying.

Dutch geese and swans counted

This video says about itself:

Part of a flock of an estimated 30,000 Barnacle Geese flies over our heads in February 2010.
Filmed in the Netherlands on a weekend tour with Birding Holland.

Translated from the Dutch SOVON ornithologists:

In the first two weekends of December, a total of more than 100,000 geese were counted in the four areas. Leader was the Biesbosch with 41,000 geese, followed by 37,000 geese in the Oostvaardersplassen. The most common species in the two areas was the white-fronted goose, followed by the gray lag goose and barnacle goose. Also in the Wieden the white-fronted goose was most common, with more than 17,000 individuals. In Fochteloërveen the tundra bean goose, with over 3,700 birds, was the top scorer.

Surprising were the Oostvaardersplassen white-fronted geese: they left in considerable groups across the IJsselmeer to North-Holland. Another beautiful phenomenon was the gathering of Bewick’s swans in the Biesbosch with on January 19, more than 1,500 birds. It is estimated that this means about ten percent of the total western flyway of this species. In both areas during the count sea eagles were seen, which caused panic among the geese. The two cranes seen in the Fochteloërveen, presumably local breeding birds, were special as well.

Swans in Dutch nature reserve

This is a Bewick’s swan video from England.

This weekend, birds are not only counted in gardens in the Netherlands.

Yesterday morning, people counted water birds in the Biesbosch nature reserve in the southern Netherlands.

Their Twitter message says they saw nearly 26,000 geese, over 1500 Bewick’s swans and four whooper swans.

Good Bewick’s swans news

The largest-ever family of Bewick's swans has arrived for winter, Slimbridge wildfowl reserve reports

From the BBC:

24 December 2012 Last updated at 00:29

Bewick’s swans: Baby boost for threatened birds

By Michelle Warwicker, BBC Nature

Northwest Europe’s threatened Bewick’s swan population has been boosted by a bumper year for chicks.

Numbers of the bird have declined dramatically since the 1990s.

Up to 7,000 Bewick’s swans usually migrate to the UK, arriving in October and flying back to Russia in March.

But surveys this year show the number of young among these wintering flocks has risen to 17.6%, compared to an average of around 10% over the past 10 years.

Ornithologists have reported an overall average of 14% young swans in flocks across northern Europe, the highest since 2001.

“It really is fantastic to see so many cygnets arriving back. They have certainly been few and far between in recent years,” said Julia Newth from the Wildfowl and Wetlands trust (WWT).

Bewick’s swans travel 2,500 miles (4,000km) from their breeding grounds within the Arctic tundra in Russia to spend the winter in the warmer British Isles and other parts of northern Europe, such as the Netherlands and Germany.

The smallest swan in Europe, Bewick’s swans are distinguishable from fellow migrant whooper swans by their size and small yellow blob on their black beaks, rather than the whooper’s yellow wedge.

Experts are still trying to understand what has caused this year’s bumper breeding session.

“[It's] the golden question that we don’t have the answer to yet,” said Ms Newth.

“Weather is thought to be a big factor, but it is not yet fully clear so we can only speculate at this stage.”

Ornithologists are also still trying to find out why the northwest Europe Bewick’s swan population has been in dramatic decline.

Known dangers to swans include illegal shooting and lead poisoning, according to the WWT.

Swans eat grit to help their digestion. But accidental ingestion of spent lead gunshot on the ground can cause severe poisoning.

Post mortem tests at WWT reserves have found that almost a quarter of dead swans found at the sites had died from lead poisoning, according to the organisation.

Man-made structures such as pylons, wind-turbines and power lines also pose threats to flying swans as the birds’ large size makes them unable to manoeuvre quickly in-flight to avoid danger.

But the higher number of cygnets reported across northern Europe this year “will hopefully boost [the swan's] numbers”, said Ms Newth.

And the arrival of an adult breeding pair of Bewick’s swans with six cygnets in tow at the WWT Slimbridge reserve in Gloucestershire is the largest Bewick’s swan family recorded at the site.

“We still need to find out what is driving down Bewick’s swan numbers,” said Ms Newth.

“But this year’s good breeding season is very welcome news.”