Friday late afternoon and seven Whooper Swans were reported on Alvecote pools. Me, I was stuck at work and it looked unlikely I was going to get back home in time to see these Icelandic visitors. As I suspected, late meeting and then horrific traffic meant the light was as good as gone as I arrived home.
It seems that previous visiting Whoopers have never overnighted on the pools, these ones were the exception.
I was stood on the banks of Alvecote pools before first light in the rain hoping the Whoopers were still about, my luck was in. Seven Whoopers being quite vocal as the light values slowly increased.
At 7.00am I attempted to take some record shots. The light was still poor, it was very overcast and still raining. Considering the conditions and distance involved, the pictures although not great turned out better than I expected.
At about 7.15am, a couple of shotgun blasts close by from neighbouring fields disturbed these swans and they started drifting downstream calling as they went.
I headed for home.
At about 11.00am with better light available I again headed to Alvecote looking for better picture opportunities in improved light conditions. No sign of the Whoopers on the Mill pool, but as I was scanning through some Swans on the far bank three waders passed through my field of view. I tracked them and they landed on the spit and dissapeared from sight behind vegetation. I didn't have to wait long before one wandered back into view, a juvenile Ruff! Eventually the other two appeared. Three Ruff on the Mill Pool.
I eventually lost sight of them as they went behind the blind side of the spit to me.
As I was in no rush, I checked the Teal pool and put a couple of Snipe up and managed to count five Little Egret between the Railway and Mill pools. No Whoopers though.
I headed over to the Pretty Pigs Lake just to check they hadn't carried on following the river downstream and ended up there. No luck.
I reported the now missing Whoopers to Tame Valley Birding along with my other sightings. On checking the days reports on TVB, I notice that Tom Perrins who runs this local service for Tame Valley Birders had also seen the Mill Pool Ruff, but now there were 4. Another local birder Mr.D.Wanklyn also contacted me to say he had also seen 4 Ruff on the Mill pool today.
It just shows that going out on a miserable, wet, grey day can have its benefits. Forecast for tomorrow is for rain all day, wonder what will drop in?