Walmore and Rodley (11 February 2011, contributed by Mike Smart)
I was told about a flock of swans at Rodley today, so I went to have a look and there was a flock of 4 Whoopers (three adults and one cygnet), 48 Bewick’s (37 adults and 11 cygnets) and 3 Mutes (two adults and a cygnet) on a field of what appeared to be kale; this is not on Wilmer Common but close to the river at Upper Dumball. I didn’t have time to ask the farmer how long the swans have been there, but I guess that is where they have been going for some weeks now.
The four Whoopers represent the family of two adults and a cygnet, plus a single adult, all of which have been hanging about for some weeks, though as yet nobody (as far as I know) has seen them together. I’ll bet they are just flying over the seawall (about 500 yards) to roost on the river; there are broad safe sandbanks for them there). I couldn’t see any rings on the Bewick’s but I didn’t go very close so as not to disturb them; I expect they are returning to Slimbridge every evening. This would explain why numbers of Bewick’s have been so low at Walmore this year. There were none there today.
Also one Sparrowhawk, flying off carrying a squealing Blackbird, quite a large prey item.