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Whooper Swan - Left Behind

On Arran there may a single Whooper Swan that has not migrated to its breeding grounds in the north.

Many Whooper Swans spend their winters in the UK arriving from Iceland in late autumn and returning north again in the spring. Most records of this species on Arran are of birds on passage to wintering grounds for example on the Solway. Their honking calls are a familiar sound in the autumn and the spring. Among the records received in 2018 there was a group of twenty-nine in Whiting Bay on 25 March and a group of eight over Brodick Golf Course on 20 October. They often travel in family groups. The earliest arrival date on Arran is 18 September and the latest departure date is 21 May.

In late spring 2018 a single Whooper Swan was seen in fields by Mossend Pond. People were concerned that it was injured but it could still fly and was never caught.  It moved on.  In the summer a single Whooper turned up in Machrie and hung about for weeks. It was possibly the same bird.  A few months later in the winter a single Whooper Swan was in the Shiskine Valley. It became so familiar to local residents that one person gave it a name, Ploddo, from the way it wandered about the fields. It could have been the same bird. If it was it had over-summered on Arran instead of migrating to the breeding grounds in Iceland.

At the end of this winter while the Greylag Geese wintering in the Shiskine Valley headed north, Ploddo was left. Again there was concern expressed that it was injured but as the previous year it could still fly and it moved on. The next reports that I received were in late May from Kildonan and then from Whiting Bay. It was with Mute Swans. Like last year I think this bird is not able to migrate to its breeding ground in Iceland and is liable to spend the summer again on Arran.

Look out for it.

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