BIRDWATCHERS in Greater Manchester are literally, “whooping with joy” at sightings of whooper swans, according to an Oldham expert.

The best places to see the graceful bird are Ogden Reservoir in the Piethorne Valley in Rochdale, where nine were present on October 30, Blackleach Country Park in Salford, where a flock of up to five have been resident since October 12, and the Hollingworth Lake area in Rochdale, where one or two have been since October 5.

Some 91 were counted at Elton Reservoir in Bury on October 27 when a further 117 flew over Horwich moors, near Bolton.

Oldham's James Walsh, known as the Mancunian Birder, says the Castleshaw Valley in the Oldham, the new Little Woolden Moss Lancashire Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Irlam in the Salford borough, and Pennington Flash in Leigh are also good places to see the magnificent Swans.

James, author of the new book “Greater Manchester Birding City Region” said: “These beautiful swans are literally swanning in for the winter from their breeding grounds in Iceland.”

“If you are lucky enough to see a whooper swan and you are texting people to tell them, you should know that predictive text is likely to give you a whopper swan.”

An international survey of whooper swans is taking place on January 11 and 12. Anyone interested in getting involved should email:

Whooper swans are different from the resident mute swan.

The most instantly recognised feature is the big yellow and black beak of the whooper swan compared with the orange and black beak of the mute swan.

The two best places in Greater Manchester to see flocks of mute swans are Moses Gate Country Park in Bolton (where the main lake is sometimes referred to as "Swan Lake”) and Salford Quays.

James’ book “Greater Manchester Birding City Region” is now online as a free e-book via the Library network.

“The book is basically a personal introduction to birdwatching in Greater Manchester – we have some amazing sites here and there are so many beautiful birds to see once you really start looking.”