06.30 at the ARC car park in the gloom before dawn, the Bewick Swans could be heard calling to one another on the lake, in the bushes Tree Sparrows chattered along with Chaffinches and Reed Buntings, 3+ Chiffchaffs in the willows and reeds by the track to Hanson, also a couple of Squealing Water Rails, a loud Cetti's Warbler and flyover Green Woodpecker. From the hide all 86 Bewick Swans and the lone Whooper Swan were milling around, 2 red head Goosanders fishing in front the hide with 3 red head Smew, in quick succession 2 Bitterns vacated there roost and flew across the lake. As all the Swans had left the lake by 06.45 yesterday, I quickly made my way back to the track to the screen hide to be in a position to get some images of the Swans leaving and waited and waited. This morning they had obviously decided to have a lay in. It was not until 07.55 when the Whooper Swan led the way, with all leaving in the next few minutes, except one juvenile which flew out towards Lydd then returned, doing this several times calling all the while and finally settling back on the lake. It does not bode well for this youngster if it cannot even find its way to Walland, let alone Russia. While waiting for the Swans to leave 7 Great White Egrets flew out towards the marsh, a Merlin, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and 3 Marsh Harriers flew over.
Whooper Swan leads the way!
Superb views of the Bewick Swans!
Stunning views as they leave the ARC!
At the fishing boats the sea was mirror calm, nothing was moving off shore so I took the opportunity to count the Great-crested Grebes on the sea, in the one sweep I counted 710 Grebes, 8 Red-throated Divers and a Grey Seal.
From the causeway the Goosanders had moved to the south end of the ARC and a Black-necked grebe could be seen on New Excavations.
At Scotney the Scaup and a single Black-necked Grebe of note.
I parked at Springfield Bridge where the 2 Cattle Egrets could be seen in the field opposite, walking from the bridge to Scott Hide was largely avian free, although work was being done in the hay fields, which certainly look in great condition for migrant spring waders. From Scott the showy Smew was still doing its stuff despite the amount of noise made by visitors slamming the door, dropping the shutters, flasks scopes and just about everything else.
drake Smew still performing for the camera!
Late this afternoon 8 Great White Egrets and 17 Little Egrets roosted. c2,000 Starlings put on another brilliant aerial display, especially when attacked by a Sparrowhawk.