Lade - mild and cloudy, occasional rain, sw 4 - A mild, breezy weekend of weather, dry yesterday and damp first thing this morning, although the sun broke through by mid-morning. After carrying out the monthly WeBS count around the local patch (duck and grebe numbers lower than normal) we spent most of the day searching for swans across the Marsh on this the second day of the International Wild Swan Census weekend.
For the most part it was a pretty depressing scene with few birds managing to eke out a living in the vast acreages of intensively farmed croplands, sheep folds and turf fields. Some of the tree-lined farms and remote dwellings attracted a few finches, sparrows, pigeons, corvids and thrushes, while several each of Kestrel and Buzzard were noted along the lanes.
As for wild swans, all we could find were six adult Bewick`s Swans out the back of Cheyne Court wind farm and a flock of 18 adults and two juveniles at Midley; a paltry tally when you consider that a decade ago 200 plus wintered on the Marsh. A total of 456 Mute Swans were also logged; all swans were on oil-seed rape fields.
Back on the coastal plain the three Long-tailed Ducks were still present at the Sussex end of Scotney pits, while the mobile drake Smew on Dengemarsh favoured the small reed-fringed lake at the back of Hookers reedbed.