March is undoubtedly the best month for seeing Whooper Swans in this part of North Yorkshire as they move north to breeding sites. The species has changed its migration route in recent years and instead of following the Yorkshire coast Whoopers now funnel up through inland Yorkshire and the Vale of Mowbray gets its share of these birds.
It was on this date last year that I had a group of nine over the river at Morton so thought I would try my luck there again. I bumped into Chris Knight here and was just explaining what I was looking for when we heard their unmistakeable wild call! A lovely skein of 27 birds flew north-north west over the river.
As I walked back towards Morton I picked up the Merlin again. I had excellent views as it swung in over the water works and across the fields to the Thrintoft road where it briefly perched in an ash tree. Unfortunately I spectacularly failed to get a picture again. It would be interesting to know where this bird is roosting.
The good old manure heaps here turned up birds again with Snipe, Grey Partridge, Reed Bunting , Skylark, Meadow Pipits and two Grey Wagtail seen.
There was another Grey Wagtail on the Manor pond last night as well as a roost of around 50 Redwings there.