Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Tundra's in Surrey.

Over the past two days I monitored reports that a flock of 19 Tundra (Bewick's) Swans had been seen frequenting flooded fields close to the River Mole at Cobham. This species is a fairly scarce winter visitor to Surrey having travelled all the way southwards from the Siberian tundra so I took the opportunity to head out and see if they were still around. As I parked the car I was joined by Trevor, a close birding friend,  so we joined forces to seek out our joint quarry.  
Walking onto the road bridge over the river provided reasonable views with the bins as they rested and fed together with Mute Swans, our much larger and common species, which also provided a clear comparison in size. Unfortunately there were far too many branches impeeding a clear view for the camera so we decided to follow the footpath alongside the river to see if we could get some better views. 
Although our quarry was still over 100 yards away a gap in the treeline eventually offered an opportunity for some distant record shots (all cropped) while trying to keep the gear steady with freezing cold fingers!
This image clearly shows the smaller compact size of the Bewick's compared to the 1st winter Mute ... a much shorter neck, more rounded head and of coures the smaller bill with its distinctive yellow patch that doesn't extend to the nostrils (unlike on a Whooper).
Beyond the Swans were approx 34 Egyptian Geese and as we turned around to head back to our cars a female Goosander swam upstream but was far too flighty for the camera!

Now all I need is a Whooper sighting to complete the full set for 2011.   FAB.

Check out the Pine River Review for more World Bird Wednesday images.


  1. Good to see them anyway Frank.

  2. This is the Swan I've yet to see Frank.
    Well worth the trip, I'd say.

  3. Great tick to have under your belt for 2011.
    They look very relaxed Frank.

  4. Very interesting photos of the Tundra and Mute Swans. Mute swans were introduced here in Australia and have established populations in some places.

  5. You're fortunate to get swans. Good Job. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  6. I'll send you some whooper mate ;-) Some are staying around for the winter, but maybe people have to stop to feed them ;-) Nice sight... I'd love to see one of these Bewick's around!

  7. Great reference shots of the swans. These shots are tough! You must have a wonderful tripod or some butt kicking IS.

  8. Great find and nice comparison between the two species. I find swans can be hard to ID unless you get really close. Good job!

  9. Swans, swans, everywhere,
    and not a drop to drink.

    I wonder where you saw that Egret?

  10. I would love to see a Tundra Swan! What a great opportunity for you! and the photos, though cropped, are outstanding.

  11. Beautiful photos of beautiful birds!

  12. ...lucky you, Frank! I love the yellow showing up in their bills. They are beautiful, and your photos are fab! :-) Hope the Whooper isn't too far behind!

  13. Hi Roy. Sure was.

    Hi Keith. A trip to Welney WWT should produce a few for you.

    JRandSue. Thanks John. They seemed very at ease.

    Hi mick. Mutes in Aus ... well another interloper to keep an eye on!!

    Thanks Gary.

  14. Cheers Chris. I guess I may have to travel to catch up with a Whooper.

    Hi Springman. Most shots were taken 'hand-held' plus a few with the monopod. IS certainly helps plus a little post processing on this occasion.

    Thanks Ryan. I did have the scope with me just in case distance was a issue.

    Hi Jo. Thanks for stopping by. The Egret on the sidebar was taken in Norfolk but I do get occasional local sightings.

  15. Hi Hilke. Yes, it was worth finding the time to seek them out.

    Hi Dixxe. Me too.

    Hi EmptyNester. Thank you.

    Hi Kelly. Yes, much more dainty than the common Mutes.

  16. Nice series of the Swans, Frank. We'll see Trumpeter Swans here in the early spring on their migration routes. Some just East of town "on the ponds", and sometimes over at Bowdoin NWR.

  17. Lovely set Frank of a bird which is difficult to get close to, and 18 is a really good find.
    Sure a Whooper will come your way before long.Same here with Grebes need a Pied Billed (Wish Wish Dream Dream)for the complete set but guess I'm in fantasy land again.

  18. You got some nice photos of these guys... I've never seen the Bewick's variety but that bit of extra yellow really makes them prettier than our Whistling ones!

  19. Great shots. Great comparisons. I hope you get your whooper!

  20. Great post and photos on the swans. I usually see the Mute Swan and the Tundra swans here.

  21. Great comparison shots of the Mute and Tundra Swans Frank. Plus we get to see the immature Mute Swan. Very nice!

  22. Great images once again. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Lovely birds to see in your local area. Many thanks for sharing.

  24. Thanks Mona. Look forward to seeing your Trumpeters when they move through in the Spring.

    Cheers Monty. We all live in hope that the difficult ones will turn up sometime.

    Thanks Jen. I had to look up Sidley to see that your version of the Tundra only sports a yellow spot on the lores.

    Kathie. Thanks, maybe the wish will pay off sometime!

    Eileen. Thanks ver much.

    Cheers Larry. It was helpful to see both together for size comparison.

    Thanks Lois.

  25. theconstantwalker. Thanks Andrew.


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