BBC’s Autumnwatch might just have finished and the clocks changed only a week ago but, for me, the arrival of the Whooper Swans at Martin Mere heralds the start of winter. What a noise they make – you hear them long before you see them. So far there around 500 whoopers have flown in from Iceland, with this number set to increase dramatically over the next few weeks. One day in December last year 2,450 were counted.
Also on the mere were hundreds of pink-footed geese (6,000 roosting one night last week), teal, pintails, mallards, shovelers, shelduck, with ruff, greenshanks and redshanks feeding at the “shoreline”. So plenty of food for the raptors – unusually saw 3 peregrine falcons sitting on adjacent posts at the far side of the mere, too far away to photograph but great to watch.
But the whoopers are the stars of the show: