Carping On

Swans that made it through, touch wood

I had a quick look at Stanley Park lake today, before an exercise class at the sports centre. The lake is still closed off following the avian influenza outbreak, but it is expected it will be reopened soon now the worst has passed. It’s very sobering that the swan death toll was today reported to be 27 birds.

A Black-headed Gull with a white ring was on view from beyond the barriers, but when I fetched my telescope it had moved. It was presumably 4FC, a bird from Denmark which is a regular winterer. I then picked up a green ringed bird – J8K5. I got an image through the scope in the gathering gloom, but here is a better one from when I saw it in 2018.

Whilst this bird is almost certainly Norwegian born and bred, interestingly it was first ringed in the park a decade ago. It was re-caught in Norway and a Darvic ring added. The life history when I last saw it is reproduced below.

I put today’s picture on a Facebook group relating to the park. I read some of the comments on other posts there and saw a number of pronouncements about why the swan deaths had occurred. I have friends who are anglers and relatives who are fishermen, but as a useful rule of thumb anyone whose social media profile consists of holding a giant carp is likely to have strong views on wildlife and the best way to maintain the park lake. I’m still waiting for a retraction from the claim that last year’s equally tragic avian flu outbreak was killer Otters with a lust for blood…

Distant ducks – the young Goosander that has wintered here can be seen just right of centre

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