Mute Swan – 2003-07 breeding

Cygnus olorAlarch Dof Breeding resident

Map produced by the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed813
Breeding probable16
Breeding possible24
No of tetrads occupied11 (of 478)23 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads2.3%4.7%

Largely introduced into Pembrokeshire to grace ornamental waters, the mute swan has now become naturalised. Habitat requirement is for a supply of aquatic plants, sufficient room to be able to take off and a suitable bank or reed bed in which to place its bulky nest. Formerly nesting on saltings, this practice had ceased by the time of the 1984-88 survey. During the 2003-07 survey they had reoccupied this niche at Cosheston Pill, the Haroldston region of the Western Cleddau and the tidal upper limit of the Eastern Cleddau. Otherwise all nests were found on fresh waters.

Ten pairs were breeding in the county during the 1984-88 survey, 22 breeding pairs were found during the 2003-07 survey. The increase was accompanied by an expansion in distribution to the east and an increase in the number of pairs in the south of the county, particularly at Pembroke Mill Ponds.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Rees, et al. 2008, Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pembrokeshire 2003-07. Pembrokeshire Bird Group.

More about the Mute Swan in Pembrokeshire

Mute Swan – 1994

Cygnus olorAlarch DofBreeding resident

1984-88
Breeding confirmed8
Breeding probable1
Breeding possible2
No of tetrads occupied11 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads2.3%

Mathew (1894) stated that they were originally introduced and noted Bosherston Pools as “their chief station” and that up to about 100 could be seen there in the summer, with many pairs breeding. Only eight to ten remained in the winter, when a few moved to the Cleddau Estuary but the majority appeared to have left the county. This situation continued into the 1920s and 1930s according to Mr Barnaby, the son of Earl Cawdor’s agent, (per R.J. Haycock) but only one or two pairs breed there now and three to five is a typical winter population. Lockley et al. (1949) and Saunders (1976) noted several breeding sites along the saltings of the Cleddau, Nevem and Teifi estuaries but these a re no longer used, the ten pairs that breed annually all being at freshwater sites.

There are normally about 30 birds on the Teifi Estuary in winter, and this is presumably the source of the Mute Swans that occasionally visit the Nevem Estuary, and more rarely Fishguard Harbour. Up to 50 winter on the Cleddau Estuary, mainly at Llanstadwell and the Pembroke River, the non-breeders staying throughout the year. Mute Swans have been recorded twice from both Skokholm and Skomer.

They are vulnerable to oil spills and 16 had to be removed for decontamination following the ‘El Omar’ incident in the Cleddau Estuary during December 1988. Four died but the rest were rehabilitated the following spring.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

More about the Mute Swan in Pembrokeshire

Mute Swan – 1980s winter

Cygnus olorAlarch Dof Breeding resident

The BTO winter atlas showed that Mute Swans were present in suitable 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84.

The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 24 birds seen in a day.

The distribution plot highlights the square that includes Pembroke Mill Ponds where the largest concentration in the county occurred.

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

Data collected by volunteers for the BTO. Lack, P. 1986 Atlas of wintering birds in Britain and Ireland. T & A.D. Poyser.

More about the Mute Swan in Pembrokeshire

Mute Swan – 1894

Cygnus olor – Introduced.

The chief station in the county of these beautiful birds is at Stackpole Court, where a number frequent the romantic lake in the park in what may be considered a wild state. The lake winds about in a serpentine shape, its banks, at places, bordered by finely timbered woods, and at one part, on the side towards the sea, by a warren. At its extremity towards the sea a narrow range of sandhills separates it from the shore. The Swans come and go as they like, and are most numerous during the summer, when there are nearly a hundred on the lake, many pairs being engaged in nesting.

In the autumn, when the weeds die down beyond their reach, and the water is high, most of the Swans disappear, and in the middle of winter, not more than eight or ten will be found remaining. A few of the birds visit the Milford Haven creeks, and one is occasionally shot on the neighbouring marshes, but the majority evidently leave the county altogether, and probably migrate far to the south. The few Mute Swans that occasionally appear on the estuary of Taw and Torridge, in North Devon, may be stragglers from the Stackpole flock.

The Swans all return again to their Pembrokeshire home in the spring. Lord Cawdor informed us that he never introduced any fresh blood, and that the number of Swans varied with the abundance of the American weed, that, after twenty-five years, had begun to diminish, and had almost died out in some parts of the water.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Mute Swan in Pembrokeshire

Mute Swan

Cygnus olorAlarch Dof Breeding resident

Mute Swan – 2003-07 breeding

Cygnus olor – Alarch Dof – Breeding resident Comparison with previous atlas: 1984-88 2003-07 Breeding confirmed 8 13 Breeding probable 1 6 Breeding possible 2 4 No of tetrads occupied 11 (of 478) 23 (of 490) Percentage of tetrads 2.3% 4.7% Largely introduced into Pembrokeshire to grace ornamental waters, the mute swan has now become […]

Mute Swan – 1994

Cygnus olor – Alarch Dof – Breeding resident 1984-88 Breeding confirmed 8 Breeding probable 1 Breeding possible 2 No of tetrads occupied 11 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 2.3% Mathew (1894) stated that they were originally introduced and noted Bosherston Pools as “their chief station” and that up to about 100 could be seen there […]

Mute Swan – 1980s winter

Cygnus olor – Alarch Dof – Breeding resident The BTO winter atlas showed that Mute Swans were present in suitable 10km squares during the winters of 1981-82, 1982-82 and 1983-84. The darker the colour, the higher the relative total count for each 10km square.  The darkest blue represents over 24 birds seen in a day. The distribution […]

Mute Swan – 1949

Species account from the Birds of Pembrokeshire, 1949, by Lockley, Ingram and Salmon.

Mute Swan – 1894

Species account from the 1894 ‘Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands’ by Rev M A Mathew