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People on Donside asked to record sightings of Whooper swans

By Chris Cromar

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The Bailies of Bennachie wildlife group is asking the public for information about Whooper swans that have arrived in the Don Valley for the winter having left their breeding grounds in Iceland.

Whooper swans are large white swans with a long beak with a triangle yellow pattern, the resident mute swans have beaks that are mainly red.

Whoopers are often seen in groups of family parties and have a characteristic and far-reaching musical bugle-like call.

The birds are believed to winter in the Don Valley from Alford to Kintore, particularly around Monymusk and Whitehouse.

The Bailies wildlife group would like to know where these beautiful birds are and are asking for sightings.

They would like to know where the swans are (a grid reference or name of farm), the date they were seen, and how many were there.

Any other information about the sighting, such as the crop in the field and if they were with other birds is useful but not essential.

People are being asked to report sightings to the group’s bird expert, John Wills at bilbo.monymusk@btinternet.com.

The swans arrive in the UK in the autumn and will stay on their favoured sites until late March to early April, when they will return to Iceland.

Unlike mute swans, which normally spend most of their time on water, Whoopers commonly graze crop fields by day and roost on water at night.

Commenting, Bailies of Bennachie outreach officer, Fiona Cormack said: “We are very lucky to have a lot of these beautiful birds wintering in parts of Donside and would like to have more information about where they are.

“Information from sightings will help build a clearer picture.”

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