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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Trumpeter Swans at Boyton

I must confess that Trumpeter Swans way back 44 years ago first got me interested in birds. My parents used to have old copies of the National Geographic magazine and one edition featured some stunning shots of Trumpeter Swans in America. I was fascinated by these birds and when I was allocated with a Swan picture (and a pink background! at infant school, I knew they weren't the same species I'd seen in the National Geographic magazine- see the "About me" section opposite!). I was therefore very keen to twitch the Boyton birds even though they were almost certainly escapes and the species isn't a long distance migrant. So on Saturday 20th December, I made the pilgrimage down to Boyton Marshes and having negotiated the confusing signage or lack of at Tunstall village, I eventually reached the barn with the metal sculpture turned off left down the lane and took the second left down to the reserve car park. Somebody leaving said there were no parking spaces at the end but when I drove down there, there were 2! having parked up I walked along the flooded meadows observing c30 Teal and c120 Wigeon on the pools. I met Barry W, who said it was around 10 minutes walk along the river bank. I also said a quick hello to Roy M and walked due south then a little west. I joined a throng of birders looking out over a kale field where around 60 Swans could be seen. 58 of them were Mutes but by the left hand end of the pool. I could see first 1 and then 2 Trumpeter Swans. Superb birds appearing slightly (10%) smaller than the Mute's, all black quite long and angular bill with a lovely red line along the lower mandible which showed even more of a characteristic striking red colour when they were feeding when you could see the more of the red colour showing inside the mouth. The birds were unfortunately at the back of the flock, quite distant and they kept loosely together, firstly with one asleep and one feeding and then they slowly walked left and even further away. They then walked back one back on, whilst the other slightly smaller bird hunkered down and promptly fell asleep. Some other newly interested birders were pleased to be shown the birds through my scope and I hope these birds engender a lasting interest in birds for them, as it did me! Walking back, I saw 2 Little Egrets walking about looking for food in a muddy field. A great trip and realisation of another ambition this year in seeing certain species (Franklin's Gull was the other having missed it in 1977, 37 years ago when I was starting birding). Travelling onto North Warren as usual no sign of the Beans although they must have been around c220 Barnacle Geese and around 15 White- fronted Geese at least in the far fields.

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