Swan Census Reports Boom Year for Cygnets at WWT Martin Mere

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WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre recorded a boom year for cygnets in the 2015 International swan census.  During the recent census 1462 Whooper swans were recorded on the Mere with 285 juvenile cygnets also counted.

This was a large number of cygnets counted, with juveniles making up 19% of all the Whooper swans recorded which is a 3% increase on the number recorded in 2014. These numbers are a huge increase in comparison to those recorded in 2010, in which we counted 1276 Whooper swans with only 151 cygnets (12%).

The annual International Swan Census for 2015 has been taking place at WWT Martin Mere this past weekend. From the 17th January until the 18th January volunteers and staff have taken part in the annual survey conducted to monitor the Whooper swan population at Martin Mere over the winter months.

Tom Clare, Martin Mere reserve manager said: “It is absolutely fantastic to have such a boom year for cygnets at Martin Mere this year, it’s great to see such a large number of Whooper swans coming over to Martin Mere for these winter months and its especially good to see such a large number of cygnets making the trip.”

The International Swan Census has been in active since 1995 and takes place every five years to compile the numbers of both Bewick and Whooper swans and to give an estimation of their population. The survey incorporates census numbers compiled from British, Irish and Iceland data.  The Whooper swans have seen their population increase by almost 11% worldwide during the time between the 2005 census and the one taken in 2010. Also over a ten year period from 2002 to 2012 Whooper swans saw an increase in their population of 37% in Great Britain.

Our dedicated volunteers arrive in the morning to count each individual swan on the mere, equipped with a pair of binoculars and two clickers, one to count the swans and one to count the number of cygnets to give us an accurate number. Tom Clare added: “It was rather tricky juggling between the two clickers and the binoculars to spot the broods, but our volunteers and staff where able to pull it off with ease after the first couple of broods had been counted.”

The birding experience at Martin Mere is fantastic at this time of the year with around 1500 whooper swans descending on the mere with two regular daily feeds taking place at both 3pm and 3.30pm.  The swans will be staying at Martin Mere until the end of March before they migrate back to Iceland for the summer months, so don’t miss out on seeing these amazing animals before they leave for the summer in just over six weeks time.

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 4.30pm during winter months and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6.  The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations.  Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight WWT Wetland Centres.


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