We had orginally planned to catch some Rock Pipits at Castletown but it was too windy so we ended up in Ramsey Harbour where we caught 1 new Swan, 1x retrap Swan and read 10 colour rings and 1 metal ring on the remaining Swans.
Mute Swans at Ramsey Harbour
The retrap Swan was the Female from the pair that nested at Ronague in 2008 (see here for the story about the Male Swan from that pair - U3465, colour ring C21).
The metal ringed Swan was the one that Kane had ringed in Whitehaven, Cumbria in 2008 and Sean had caught in Ramsey harbour back in December.
Then today Sean and I met at up and initially went to Tromode Dam, a small lake at the end of an industrial estate on the oustkirts of Douglas, the Islands capital. We couldn't locate the pair of Mute Swans on the lake but Sean said he had seen a Swan wandering around on a patch of grass in the Industrial Estate itself a week or so ago so we went for a walk about. We were just about to give up when we saw 2 Swans sat at the entrance to one of the units, a car repair company. A quick chat with the manager and we had ringed the Male of the pair of Swans but left the Female as she appeared to be almost blind and had very worn wing feathers.
The pair of Mute Swans outside the car repair shop
The manager told us how they buy in special Swan food and put out a bowl of fresh water for them every day! He also said that he had been told that the Female was almost 40 years old, unfortunately she wasn't ringed so we weren't able to confirm it and we left the pair of Swans still sat outside the car repair shop!
We then headed to Ballasalla House, a fine place set in large grounds with a couple of private Lakes. The owners met us and took us to see 'Rambo' and 'Bella', the pair of very well looked after Mute Swans and their 3 cygnets!!
The female was originally ringed here by Dave and I in 2004 and still had its colour ring 'A78' on. The male was metal ringed but he didn't come out of the water to allow the number to be read. We caught 2 of the 3 cygnets but couldn't get near the third one.
Rambo & Bella from Ballasalla House
Finally, we went to Billown Mansion, one of the finest properties on the Island with several large lakes in its private grounds. We quickly checked access was OK with the estate staff and went down to the lakes where we found the resident pair with 4 cygnets. The Male of the pair had a metal ring which I was able to read - X2283 (originally ringed at the Mansion in 2006), and we caught 2 of the 4 cygents.
Thanks to Mr & Mrs Allsebrook of Ballasalla House and also to Mr Whittaker (and his estate staff) at Billown Mansion for granting us access to their properties to ring the Swans.
Thanks also to Sean - a superb Swan catcher!!
We have colour ringed 24 Mute Swans in the last couple of months and there are still a few left to ring and we will hopefully start seeing some movements as the breeding pairs move onto their territories to nest.
During our travels today we also caught a Canada Goose at Castletown and had great views of a Little Egret in Castletown inner harbour.
Little Egret in Castletown Harbour