Friday, 1 February 2013

Quartet of Swans

Lade - 0900hrs - Wet, mild, nw 3 - Trudged across the storm beaches in driving rain more to take the mutt for a walk than anything else. Just the usual diving ducks on south pit plus around 200 Teal.
Walland Marsh - 1300hrs - With the monsoon passing it proved to be a production time to be out in the field, and as the clouds dispersed the sun even broke through. At Hawthorn Corner had my best count of Bewick`s Swans of the winter at 235, plus 2 Whoopers which didn`t stay for long once the model flying club started up, and distant flight views of the Common Crane. Opposite the drying barns a lone Black Swan was feeding alongside 50 Mutes.
Further down the lane the feeders were alive with sparrows, finches and tits, plus Common Buzzard and several Marsh Harrier out on the sheep folds. On the drive back had superb views of a `grey ghost` Hen Harrier drifting over the lane.

                                          Bewick`s Swans, Walland Marsh

                                          Black Swan, Midley

There was another perfect example this afternoon, at Midley, as to why our farmland is becoming devoid of wildlife. I realise that the poor old farmers have to clear the drainage ditches out from time to time, but is it really necessary to grub out the hedgerows and old willows too. In the short period of time I`ve lived down here on the Marsh the amount of `tidying up` that has occurred is noticeable, resulting in fewer and fewer rough patches for birds to find sanctuary in.

                                          Another hedgerow gone

ARC - From Screen hide had good flight views of 3 separate Bitterns flying into the near reedbed alongside a Great White Egret. At least 4 Marsh Harriers and a Sparrowhawk flew by while a large mixed flock of Lapwings and Goldies swirled overhead looking for somewhere to roost on the swollen pit. On the water hundreds of ducks including 21 Smew, 13 Goldeneye and a duck Red Crested Pochard.
Boulderwall - At last knockings nipped over the road to scan the 7 Barnacle and 3 White-fronts on the sodden fields, just as a Barn Owl came out to hunt! A cracking end to a tidy afternoons birding.


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