Species of the Month - November 2013

Whooper Swan

Cygnus cygnus

Whooper Swans are winter visitors from Iceland.  They are liable to be found on any of our lochs and can also sometimes be seen offshore, or in flight from one water-body to another, making their deep whooping call as they go.  Occasionally they are seen in marshy ground beside a loch, grazing on the vegetation.

Cygnus cygnus

Each year a few Whooper Swans manage to breed in the far north and west of Scotland, but any seen in our area during the summer months are more likely to be individuals unable to migrate due to injury.  If you see a pair in summer, of course, there is much more cause for excitement.

Cygnus cygnus   Cygnus cygnus, juvenile

The right-hand picture above shows a juvenile.  These are grey when they fly south with their parents.  They become paler during their first winter but do not attain adult bill colour until after they return in the spring.

Cygnus olor & C cygnus

Whooper Swan being driven off by Mute Swans.  The difference in bill shape and colour is obvious.  It is much harder to tell Whooper Swans from Bewick's Swans, but the latter are extremely rare in our area, with none being sighted in most years.  Bewick's Swans normally have the yellow reaching less than halfway along the bill.


Please send in your Whooper Swan sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your swan, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LORN forum and let me know it is there.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Number seen 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details   


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

29 Oct: One seen on Loch Balnagowan, Lismore, by Rob Lightfoot during our LNHG field trip.

11 Nov: Rob saw and heard 10 flying over his house in Glen Euchar in a south-westerly direction, calling to each other as they flew.

Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Oct 2013 - Ballerina Waxcap
Sep 2013 - Parrot Waxcap
Aug 2013 - Vapourer Moth

Jul 2013 - Emerald Damselfly
Jun 2013 - Globe Flower
May 2013 - Early Purple Orchid
Apr 2013 - Peacock Butterfly
Mar 2013 - Oak Beauty
Feb 2013 - Coral Lungwort

Jan 2013 - Willow Jelly Button & Birch Jelly Button
Dec 2012 - Dice Lichen
Nov 2012 - Feathered Thorn
Oct 2012 - Dryad's Saddle
Sep 2012 - Tawny Grisette
Aug 2012 - Forest Bug
Jul 2012 - Grayling
Jun 2012 - Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchids
May 2012 - Small Copper
Apr 2012 - Green Tiger Beetle
Mar 2012 - March Moth
Feb 2012 - Barren Strawberry
Jan 2012 - Brambling
Dec 2011 - Red Squirrel
Nov 2011 - Hazel Gloves
Oct 2011 - Small Tortoiseshell
Sep 2011 - Fly Agaric
Aug 2011 - Grass of Parnassus
Jul 2011 - Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated