For all their high northern glamour and wild, haunting calls, Whoopers are fairly easy to connect with in our neck of the woods (or rather marshes and farmland) at this time of year.
They can still be impressive though, and that was the case today as Ian Wolfenden and I watched four coming in on high from the west, dropping over Liverpool Bay to sweep majestically into Crosby Coastal Park.
I wonder how long ago they left Iceland?
I don’t think I’ve ever encountered Whoopers here before, but Ian saw seven last week too.
We were both surprised when these wildest of swans planed onto the small boating lake, albeit briefly, before taking to the air again, flapping to gain height as they headed over us calling away, like a quartet of albino Lancaster bombers.
Against the relatively urban backdrop, out of context, their calls sounded all the wilder. Great birds.
As I checked an area to the north of the marine lake for a potential winter management project, 5-6 Corn Buntings “tic tic tic-ed” past a few times, back for the winter, and 3-5 Stonechats were in the low dunes.
The colder weather today saw more finches arriving on the coast – groups of Chaffinches were dropping into the dunes at Ainsdale, and called overhead at Crosby.
One of the local Ravens was getting hassle from Carrion Crows and Starling numbers were increasing on the open grassland.
A few of Ian’s Skylarks were still feeding on Sea Holly seeds, but when they are doing this they can be as difficult to spot and skulky as Jack Snipe, as they creep about low to the petrified remains of the plants, before chirrupping up into the cold air.