A few years ago we noticed a pair of Swans that were different from the Whooper Swans that usually breed in Veidivotn Lakes in the Southern Interior of Iceland. Since then we have been observing the pair that comes back to the same lake to breed, raising two to three chicks every summer.
The Whooper Swan is the only species that breeds in Iceland but these Swans in Veidivotn Lakes are smaller, more delicate and have a black bill without any or little yellow. They are also quieter and not as shy.
Some speculation has been ongoing concerning the identification of this breed of Swans, without any definite result. They are similar but not identical to either the Bewick’s Swan or the Tundra Swan. According to ornithologists they are possibly a local genetic aberration from the Whooper Swan.
On a field trip last summer seven Swans like these were found in the Veidivotn Lakes area, three paired with ordinary Whooper Swans and two where both had these same characteristics. Whatever they are we will continue to observe them and see how they fare.
It is still February but this week the first flocks of Whooper Swans could be seen flying along the Southeast coast. Small groups were spotted in Fáskrúðsfjörður and in Hornafjörður, having just arrived over the Atlantic Ocean. Most Whooper Swans migrate to the British Isles in the autumn and come back in late winter. They are one of the very first migrators to arrive. We hope their coming signals a change in the weather and look forward to some warmer days.
Whooper Swans are very common in Iceland and can be seen all over the country year round, although some still migrate to the British Isles in winter. On Ölfusá River by Selfoss there were about 40 birds this winter. The Whooper Swans pair for life and return to the same breeding place year after year. They are very sensitive and if disturbed the pair may abandon the nest and eggs.
Last weekend flocks of Whooper Swans could be seen flying along the Southeast coast, having just arrived over the Atlantic Ocean. Most Whooper Swans migrate to the British Isles in the autumn and come back in the spring.
Whooper Swans are very common in Iceland and can be seen all over the country. Pairs stay together for life and are true their old breeding places which they return to year after year. The chicks stay with the parents until it comes to the nest making when they chase their chicks from last year away. If the Whooper Swan is disturbed or feels threatened the pair may abandon the nest and eggs.
This Whooper Swan family, with the grown up birds at the front and the back and the chicks between them, flew over Grímsnes in South Iceland yesterday, probably just newly arrived.
Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) are now coming to Iceland in huge flocks from their winter grounds in the British Isles. They spread over the whole country in smaller groups and pairs seek their old breeding places with their chicks from last year. When it comes to the nest making the parents chase the grown up chicks away. Often fights break out because the chicks do not want to go .
The first Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) flocks are now arriving in Iceland despite heavy winds and blizzards. Whooper Swans are breeding birds all over the country.
Mosts go to the British Isles in the winter. The Swan returns in the latter part of March and adult birds often go straight to their territory and the mating begins. The Swan is loyal to its mate and the pairs stay together throughout their lives.
On Christmas Day this Swan visited a house by the River Öflusá. When the family looked out their living-room window there it was in the snow and stayed there for four days. Temperatures were down to minus 12° C and blizzards most of the days. The Swan wouldn’t eat anything and was obviously not feeling well. Birders thought that it had come there to die.
At noon on the fourth day, however, it stood up and walked to the river. It had some water to drink and was obviously very thirsty. The Swan was last seen on its way down the river that same day.
On the River Ölfusá in the Selfoss area there are now 48 Swans overwintering. That is a bit more than in recent years.