Walking the dog up to the car park this afternoon, I noticed 5 adult swans in two groups on the bank behind us, each with a couple of cygnets almost ready to be ‘banished’ from the family flock.
It always amazes me how large these birds are, and to see them taking off on the river isn’t exactly graceful and silent, more of a Flintstone pounding of feet on the water to engage a frantic lift off.
In flight though, they are wonderful to watch, and the other day we had seven fly over together, so these could well have been one of the residential pairs and last year’s brood.
Cygnets, like ducklings and moorhen chicks, can perish either to the elements or predators here, so it is good to see the current family of four surviving young in such close proximity.
Our first year saw a clutch of 7 eggs, six of which hatched, but only three survived, despite the adults moving them across the river.
Last year we had a clutch of six, and for months five were seen to flourish. Sadly, there are only four now, but we believe the fifth survived elsewhere as quite often we see a single large cygnet when the others are further up river.
From what I understand, the youngsters won’t be exiled to fend for themselves until all of their grey plumage has molted away.
At night, they all come into our basin and it is lovely to see them. Maggie gives them no heed, and although they may hiss at her, don’t rally for attack.
I’m hoping to get some pictures of this year’s babies and log their progress to adulthood.
Swans will always remind me of my Mum, and how we ‘adopted one’ for her birthday the year my Dad died. Although hers disappeared without trace, I send her details of the ones here and those we see on our travels up river to Stratford.