Following news of 48 Whooper Swans over Hes East first thing I headed to Acaster Ings to check out the rapidly disappearing floods, full of expectation. As I got out of the car, I was greeted with the bugling call of a Whooper Swan! Scanning the water I picked up a couple of these majestic birds behind the hedge. Wow! This followed on from four I had a couple of weeks ago, but to get them on the deck was just cracking. After I had got my scope up and grabbed a few shots as swans swam past gaps in the hedge, the calling volume and frequency increased and it seemed they were thinking about departing. Sure enough, they then ran down the flood and to my amazement not four or five, but 18 birds were in the herd! They headed south, round the back of the church, across the road and then north across the fields and off over Bishopthorpe, their route probably taking them over my house! Next stop the west coast of Scotland, or perhaps even Iceland! A brilliant start to the day and a great reminder of how exciting it is birding a local patch.