March 23rd - I went back to Chasewater to investigate the overflow situation, and because my conscience was burning me badly. I needed to feed those poor swans. The snow still fell, and the wind was evil. This was the worst snowfall I’d seen since the early 1980s, yet I was surprised at the diversity of the a avian population I encountered. Crows, waterfowl, gulls. Pied wagtails hunted what I presume were barely visible bugs over the overflow spillway. They mingled with a small, brown sparrow-like bird I didn’t recognise. Consulting with birders online later, these cute little brown jobs with comical flight and similar feeding behaviour to the wagtails turned out to be meadow pipits, probably brought down by the snow during migration. I was fascinated by the way they clung to the spillway walls.
I needn’t have fretted about the swans, as their mum was there. The Swan Lady and her husband are legendary at Chasewater, and they feed and tend the swans, taking note of absentees and arrivals. The incongruous and greedy flock gathered round their guardians with eager and expectant joy, and much honking. Bless.