Coffee over, I pottered off into the dawn with a chilly northeast breeze to keep me company and started the search. As in the last couple of years, just one confirmed pair of Lapwing were present, with a single bird also lurking - this was occasionally beaten up by the established pair. A pair of Oystercatcher look to have moved in - they appeared late in the season last year and at least attempted to breed; perhaps this year they will succeed!
There was a steady passage of Swallows drifting eastwards with a handful of Sand Martins sprinkled amongst them, but few other migrants were evident: a single Reed Warbler, just one Whimbrel and a couple of Yellow Wagtails, whilst a late Golden Plover was also a pleasant surprise.
Most interesting, however, was significant evidence of Otter using the reprofiled ditches, with some superb trails of footprints and a couple of spraints. Hopefully these can drive out any mink that may occur, providing a little more security for the local water voles. Next survey in a couple of weeks, with any luck.
...this! Swan carnage on one bank of a reprofiled ditch. Still 40-odd hanging around, so not a great problem in the grand scheme of things.
Moody (indeed, gloomy. Blame the weather) view along a reprofiled ditch. The original ditch was about 1.5m wide and steep-sided; to get this shape you get in a chap on a contraption which slices off one bank to a gentle gradient, spraying the cut soil liberally across the field behind it. This produces a profile somewhat like a square-root symbol (√), reversed in this case. The whole idea is to create a bank with continual access to water and invertebrates as water levels fluctuate through the year. Particularly popular with Little Egrets and Otters on this site...