WWT International Swan Census: January 2015.
This month, January 2015, sees the next International Swan Census (ISC) take place across Europe, with an aim to estimate the size and distribution of the Iceland Whooper Swan and Northwest Bewick’s Swan populations. The census takes place every five years and is coordinated internationally by the Wetlands International / IUCN Swan Specialist Group. Here in the UK it is coordinated by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). The census is being held this year on the weekend of January 17th and 18th and more information about the it can be found at WWT’s Waterbird Monitoring website.
Whooper, and in particular Bewick’s Swans, are rather scarce in our region. However, we do know that both species do occasionally turn up in Eastern Glamorgan and WWT would be grateful if we could keep an eye out over the census weekend (or any time in January) just in case any swans should choose to visit a local site in January 2015… and they would obviously be very grateful for a count to be submitted should that happen!
An online recording form is available for providing counts, and paper forms will be available for any counters who do not have access to the internet.
The main aim of the ISC is to estimate the size and distribution of each population, as well as identify important wintering sites. Age assessments, if possible, are also made during the surveys, providing a coordinated estimation of breeding success. In addition counters are asked to record the type of habitat used by the swans during the census. These data are analysed to assess whether there has been any major shift in habitat use over time.
Fingers crossed one or other species turns up in our region over the next few weeks.