Recently we have been surveying overwintering Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) in Co. Mayo. The Whooper Swan population which overwinters in Ireland breeds in Iceland before migrating south in the Autumn. The species is amber listed on the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2014–2019 (Colhoun and Cummins, 2013).
The current survey aims to first identify foraging and roosting areas for swans and then observe and record any movements. We conduct our surveys at dawn and dusk as this is when swans are more likely to fly to and from feeding sites. Furthermore, we have been searching the wider hinterland for important foraging areas to get a better understanding of local Whooper Swan distribution. Recent weather patterns have provided ideal survey conditions with cool, calm mornings and evenings to observe and hear any swan movements.