Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Swans' ways

Time for a longer post about our Jeziorki swans, a permanent addition to the local wildlife. The first pair flew in towards the end of March 2008, so this is the swans' ninth season in Jeziorki (as far as I know - having only lived in the vicinity since 1997).

Below, photo taken on 5 May 2016. The mother swan is on the nest, waiting for her eggs to hatch. The nest is massive. The female broods for an average of 36 days.

Below: photo from Sunday, 22 May. Hatchlings can be observed. How many? At least four distinct heads were visible in the shots I took that day.

Below: photo from this morning. The cygnets are on open water, paddling ahead of their parents. Standing between parents and children, a grey heron.

Below: as many as seven cygnets! Count them! A marvellous sight. The average clutch of eggs laid by a female swan is four, so this one is particularly fecund.

Below: from last year - photo taken on 21 June 2015. Parents and six cygnets. Note one of the cygnets is whiter than the rest, carrying the gene for leucism.

This photo, taken on 19 August 2015 five of the cygnets - including the whiter one - quite unafraid of me, and their parents to the rear.

The two adult swans who conceived this year's clutch of hatchlings are likely to be the same two adults that did likewise last year. Swans do not reach sexual maturity until they are four, and can live to the age of 20. Below: four swans around the last hole in the ice, 31 December.

Below: parents and six young, photo taken on 25 February. Note three of the young are white, the remaining three still have the juvenile plumage. Now it looks like the parents (the two with their heads in the water) have remained, while the young ones have flown off to find new homes.

Large flocks of juvenile swans of pre-mating age fly around together before settling down in pairs in a pond of their own.

I am delighted that this pair has brought another seven cygnets into the world, and that they will spend the summer in Jeziorki, feeding, swimming - and come the autumn - learning to fly.

This time last year:
Sam Smith, Shepherd Neame and the Routemaster bus

This time three years agor:
Rainy night in Jeziorki - no flood this time!

This time
This time four years ago:
Wide-angle under Pl. Wilsona

This time five years ago:
Ranking a better life

This time six years ago:
Questions about our biology and spirituality

This time seven years ago:
Paysages de Varsovie

This time eight years ago:
Spring walk, twilight time

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