Saturday, 21 October 2017

Swans growing up

Every year, the miracle happens.

I observed them as day-old hatchlings, I watched them growing larger through the summer months and the early autumn, until, almost the same size as their parents, they are fully-fledged and begin to take to the air.

Below: just a short flight, from one end of the middle pond to the other. Flying as gracefully as adults, no awkwardness here!

Watching a swan preparing to land makes one realise that birds and aircraft use the same basic principles of aerodynamics; flaps extended, gear down...

...and a perfect landing, those two webbed feet acting like water-skis

A minute later, the two intrepid aviators have taxied back to their parents and siblings. All seven of this year's swan family using their necks to feed on pond vegetation.

And a photo from Thursday, the last warm day from this lovely week. The entire swan family having a beach party. Within weeks, the pond will ice over and the swans will fly north (to the Baltic) to escape the cold (their feet are not as well insulated as ducks' feet are).

A reminder of how they were - just two days old (the clutch hatched on 20 May), swimming competently with dad. Six hatched, five survived.

Bonus shot - to show that swans are equally happy by the Baltic. This one's on the beach at Sopot. Photo below was taken three weeks ago in Sopot.

If all goes as nature intends, the cygnets will leave Jeziorki with their parents. The young ones will meet up with hundreds of other juvenile swans and will pair off, then each pair will find its own pond or lake, and return to it year after year. Given that swans can reach the age of 20, Jeziorki can expect the pair that's been coming here since 2009 to make many more returns, to lay many more clutches of eggs that hatch into fast-growing cygnets.

This time two years ago:
On the eve of Poland's change of government

This time three years ago:
Bilingualism benefits the brain

This time seven years ago:
Crushed velvet dusk in my City of Dreams II

This time eight years ago:
Going North, the quick way

This time nine years ago:
Glorious autumn dusk

This time ten years ago:
Last man voting?

1 comment:

John Savery said...

Great to see the changes and compare with the swan family here in Warwick.