E.J.Wilkins

11 May 2007 687 views
 
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photoblog image Female Swan and cygnets (hatched 5th-7th May)

Female Swan and cygnets (hatched 5th-7th May)

I took this picture today, 10th May. I chose it from those I took because it shows the behaviour of the female swan, looking for food.

Update:
The weather here was bad yesterday (9th), today has been worse with strong winds and heavy rain, but I thought I'd go and see how they were getting on. Of course Swans, being water birds, don't mind getting wet.

When I got near the nest I could see it was deserted, and I panicked a bit, but there was no sign of trouble. I went to look to see if I could find the swan family.

I found them about half a mile away. Mum was sitting on a small island, about a metre across, (you can see it in the background here) with one cygnet perched on her back, Dad was on guard in the water nearby. The other cygnets were fast asleep , cosily tucked under Mum's wings.

I approached them very carefully, and stood under some nearby trees. Their new place is well away from where many people are likely to find them, and very much safer from disturbance by dog-walkers. I thought that may be why they moved. Dad swan, he's called a Cob, came towards me he wasn't in the least threatening. I'd got some bread, which I gave him and he ate it quite greedily. I threw someinto the water to try to persuade him it was the best place for him to be.

Some of the bread was pushed by the wind across the water towards Mum, she's called a Pen, and she stretched her neck to reach it without uncovering the cygnets she was protecting.

After about ten minutes the cygnets woke and made for the water. Then something really strange happened.

Mum led the way across towards the bank, all the time looking intently into the water and making small noises. (That's what this picture shows) Then she dipped her head beneath the water and pulled at some weed. She dropped it into the water in front of the cygnets. They just looked at it, seemed slightly bemused. She did this several times and eventually one or two cygnets pecked at it.
Then Mum started shaking her head violently from side to side, stopped and looked at the cygnets and did it again. She did this several times, each time she stopped and watched them. Then one of the little ones seemed to try to copy her. I wondered if she was trying to show them how to pull the weed from the water.

They moved in closer to the bank and I could see that the water is quite shallow for some distance outwards because Mum stood and watched the cygnets. I wonder if they may have moved because the water here is shallower, so the cygnets can reach the weed growing just beneath the surface. The water near the nest site is quite deep.

.....

I'll try to keep an eye on this family over the coming weeks and months, and will do my best to share a picture of them each week,
.....

Female Swan and cygnets (hatched 5th-7th May)

I took this picture today, 10th May. I chose it from those I took because it shows the behaviour of the female swan, looking for food.

Update:
The weather here was bad yesterday (9th), today has been worse with strong winds and heavy rain, but I thought I'd go and see how they were getting on. Of course Swans, being water birds, don't mind getting wet.

When I got near the nest I could see it was deserted, and I panicked a bit, but there was no sign of trouble. I went to look to see if I could find the swan family.

I found them about half a mile away. Mum was sitting on a small island, about a metre across, (you can see it in the background here) with one cygnet perched on her back, Dad was on guard in the water nearby. The other cygnets were fast asleep , cosily tucked under Mum's wings.

I approached them very carefully, and stood under some nearby trees. Their new place is well away from where many people are likely to find them, and very much safer from disturbance by dog-walkers. I thought that may be why they moved. Dad swan, he's called a Cob, came towards me he wasn't in the least threatening. I'd got some bread, which I gave him and he ate it quite greedily. I threw someinto the water to try to persuade him it was the best place for him to be.

Some of the bread was pushed by the wind across the water towards Mum, she's called a Pen, and she stretched her neck to reach it without uncovering the cygnets she was protecting.

After about ten minutes the cygnets woke and made for the water. Then something really strange happened.

Mum led the way across towards the bank, all the time looking intently into the water and making small noises. (That's what this picture shows) Then she dipped her head beneath the water and pulled at some weed. She dropped it into the water in front of the cygnets. They just looked at it, seemed slightly bemused. She did this several times and eventually one or two cygnets pecked at it.
Then Mum started shaking her head violently from side to side, stopped and looked at the cygnets and did it again. She did this several times, each time she stopped and watched them. Then one of the little ones seemed to try to copy her. I wondered if she was trying to show them how to pull the weed from the water.

They moved in closer to the bank and I could see that the water is quite shallow for some distance outwards because Mum stood and watched the cygnets. I wonder if they may have moved because the water here is shallower, so the cygnets can reach the weed growing just beneath the surface. The water near the nest site is quite deep.

.....

I'll try to keep an eye on this family over the coming weeks and months, and will do my best to share a picture of them each week,
.....

comments (33)

They're so sweet. Thanks for sharing the story of the 'lesson' with us. It is wonderful to hear about their behavior and actions.
Ellie this one is sweeter than yesterdays, if that is possible. Enjoyed the read today too. Thanks for sharing this incredible nature series with us. I have enjoyed it thoroughly. The photo is awesome!
A wonderful week for you to share with us. Thanks, Ellie. We don't have swans on PEI.
This is the picture I've been waiting for. Nice one.
Ohhh !! Que bonito. Aquí, recortando la imagen limitando justo la visión de la familia de cisnes... creo que ya tenemos el POSTER. Muy buen trabajo, Ellie smilesmile

Ohhh! That pretty. Here, trimming the image limiting right the vision of the family of swans... I believe that already we have the POSTER. Very good work, Ellie smilesmile
I like the crop and compositon of this shot, how nice.
This is a great shot Ellie. I just love the story you shared here.
They are very sweet. We don't have a lot of swans where we are, but we do get an awful lot of Canada Geese. They are fascinating to watch, but not nearly as elegant as swans. I look forward to more photos as this family grows up.
Thanks for sharing this story. It would be fun to watch these interactions. All we get around here are some ducklings, and they grow up so used to humans that they will practically walk right over your foot. And they don't do as good a job of looking impossibly fluffy as these cygnets either.
Oh, what a lovely family Ellie
Beautiful.. I have really been impressed with these swan images.
  • 10cré
  • Paris, France
  • 11 May 2007, 09:56
So cute ! Tres mignonne cette photo j'aime beaucoup !
Beautiful shot Ellie
  • Yeni
  • 11 May 2007, 10:40
marks out of Ten today= 16/10
Amazing photo story, obvious a lot of hardwork went into it - well done smile
so sweet... mother and child...
  • Suby
  • Milton Keynes, UK
  • 11 May 2007, 11:41
Cool

Suby
  • Ginnie
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 11 May 2007, 13:23
Ellie! This is so adorable! After reading all you described, I want someone to make a movie about the March of the Cygnets. Wouldn't that be so fun! smile
  • mal
  • 11 May 2007, 13:57
just catching up Ellie, this series has been very carefully thought through and each one is a gem! I applaud you having this ongoing project to, keeping us up to date with the progress of the family, I suspect there will be some sad images to come. Very lovely image. mal
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 11 May 2007, 14:15
Another excellent picture, Ellie. I enjoyed reading your story as well.
  • paul
  • 11 May 2007, 14:56
Fascinating Ellie, and a lovely picture too
They've got their water wings now wink
  • Neil Tandy
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 11 May 2007, 15:46
Sweet photo Ellie and one can clearly see those horrible weather conditions you describe. Your telling of the names for the male and female swans, reminded me straight away of the scene from "Only Fools and Horses", where the guys were playing a quiz game and Delboy said that a female swan is called a BIC!!! Have a wonderful weekend. Many regards, Neil.
There's a lovely echo of one cygnet looking down into the water like Mum. I wonder if the one that was sleeping on her back was the same one that climbed up before? I think Bill Oddie has got strong competition here!
  • Steve
  • 11 May 2007, 18:53
Lovely image Ellie, and an interesting story behind the picture too.
This shot is fantastic! What a sweet family. So nice of them to huddle up to give you the perfect composition!
Those little ones are so cute! I can't believe these wonderful shots you've gotten of them! I've seen baby geese but never swans! It's just wonderful. smile
What a great stories you share with us Ellie! I love your series and want more news in coming weeks! Picture are just awesome smile
Wonderful! (:o)
Too much !! smile smile smile smile
  • Deb
  • United States
  • 13 May 2007, 00:08
Those babies have grown so much! How lucky you are to witness the progress of this beautiful swam family!
Happy family.... smile
  • alex
  • 28 May 2007, 00:51
these are adorable, ellie! good job for braving the weather to get this shot. as you can see, i'm back from hawaii and getting married (!!!), so i'm just trying to catch up.

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camera E-400
exposure mode A-DEP program
shutterspeed 1/400s
aperture f/5.1
sensitivity ISO400
focal length 102.0mm
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Swan and cygnets on nest (hatched 5th-7th May)Swan and cygnets...

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