While the outlook for some birds at the minute is quite grim one specimens situation looks to be on the up. As conditions continue to be treacherous on the roads staying locally is the best policy so the Rising Sun was again on the agenda yesterday. Not too many birds at first and it was pleasantly quiet overall with the occasional squeal of delight coming from the hill of some sledder, who would have already been full of the joys of winter having been told not to attend school anyway. I got to Swallow Pond to find it 90% frozen with a distinct lack of birds notably ducks. There had been over 200 Widgeon here a couple of days ago. Dozens of Shoveller and scores of Teal but the only 2 ducks present were a couple of farmyard hybrids which came running over the ice from fully 100 metres away when they detected my prescence hoping for some scran. The chill wind was cutting and with some gulls the only other species around i decided it was better keeping on the move. With Swallow now almost totally frozen and recollecting the 5 Water Rail i had in the ditches in similar conditions last year i headed into the plantation but managed only a couple of Blue Tits, half a dozen Blackbirds and a brace of Robins. The lack of people and more specifically dog walkers was more than making up for the lack of birds.
On to Dukes Pond and was more than confused when i found the Mute Swan juveniles had increased from 7 to 8. There was a mini blizzard blowing as i got here so visibilty had dropped considerably and counted again. The cygnets were on the ground, with some tucked up and asleep and it was only after 5 minutes or so i realised that the extra one was the juvenile Whooper that had been hiding in and around the bigger Swallow Pond for the last fortnight or so. Bearing in mind that the Whooper had been hiding in the reeds all this time due to the fact that the male adult Mute had been terrorising it and others and it was with that birds offspring was more than suprising. Initially the bird was on the periphery of the group but as i observered for some time the bird moved into the middle of other swans and even close to the parent birds without any aggression from the adult male. I will be following the progress of the Whooper over the coming days.