I did not expect to be 2 species up on my patch life total this early in the year, although if I had to choose 2 likely species it probably would be the wild Swans. Hot on the heels of hearing 1+ Whooper Swan earlier in the month, I owe a great deal of thanks to Ben who spotted a Bewick's Swan on 'my' side of the river this morning whilst he was counting Wildfowl. Having already been to Rockland early doors and seen the usual Coot, Tufted Duck and nothing else, this would top the day off nicely. (I say nothing else rather flippantly- I did also observe a Barn Owl and Cetti's Warbler, which were lovely, but I had hoped for some decent Wildfowl in the colder weather).
Good numbers of Mute Swan graze the marshes at both Claxton and Langley, and last year I recall a count of 80+ in the first Winter period. This Bewick's was said to be east of the Beauchamp Arms, so I set up my scope outside Buckenham sailing club, flushing a Kingfisher as I did so! The Bewick's quickly came into view, feeding with one Mute (must have been at least a third bigger) and some Canada Geese. Brilliant.
Yesterday I left the house on foot, walking to Wheatfen, taking in Surlingham wood and home again. A very enjoyable walk with many common species seen, some firsts for the year. A Nuthatch in the wood was of course the highlight, and I was finally able to add Mistle Thrush and Redwing. Redwing very hard to come by at the moment. 2 Redpoll sp called and passed through, again not an easy bird. Getting all nostalgic again, I remember a superb pink-breasted flock of 25+ at Church Marsh after the cold Winter of 2012-2013. Certainly makes one appreciate these moments in time during leaner years.