On Wednesday 8th January Philip Fawkes found a Bewick’s Swan on Iblsey Meadows. This is presumably the returning individual who wintered here in 2018 and 2019. This pales in comparison to the 1987 Avon Valley wintering herd of over 300 birds. There were more than 100 Bewick’s Swans in all the years between 1979 and 1993 but in 2017 there weren’t any! Given the recent scarcity in Hampshire I decided to head over there as soon as I could. I was dropping Sarah off at her Mum’s in Verwood on the Thursday and so I dropped in to Ibsley while I was in the area.
Last year I saw the swan on the 16th January when it was in the fields beyond the church to the north west of Harbridge. On that occasion it was also pouring with rain but the swans including the Bewick’s were walking and grazing in the fields away from any flood water. This time the Bewick’s Swan was swimming for the whole period in small lakes that had formed in the fields on the north side of the minor road which runs westwards from the A338 bridge at Ibsley.
The Bewick’s Swan was clearly smaller than the accompanying Mute Swans and while swimming the much flatter back of the Bewick’s Swan was also noticeable.