Sunday, 31 May 2015

Ugly duckling indeed!

Cygnets are so endearing and 'our' cygnet grows more lovely every day.  The pen brings it round five or six times daily and I always take the time to stop what I'm doing and admire it. The cob is sometimes with them and there's trouble if another swan happens to be in the vicinity.  Both parents race after any rival and the cygnet is left to paddle after them as fast as it can, calling out in distress at being left behind.  Fortunately, once intruders have been driven off, the pen returns to allow its exhausted cygnet to climb back under her wings.

 Mum takes the strain

The swans nearly always approach us from downstream so I have plenty of time to get out their favourite food for them.  Sometimes the cygnet gets so excited at the thought of a 'wheat treat' that it slides off mum's back before reaching the feeding station - but not always!

 Time to slide off mum's back for some wheat

Usually it stays on board till the last minute and then wriggles from under its mum's wings before sliding into the water.

Getting back on takes a little more effort

After a substantial snack it's so nice to clamber back under mum's wings but it's never that easy, especially when mum is seeing off a rival swan. Then the cygnet has to paddle hard to keep up with her.

Preening is essential 

After a good meal it's important to preen before settling down for a snooze under mum's protective wings.

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