It’s 1st of June, also the first day of meteorological summer and it seems that today is the day for a baby boom!
Almost exactly a year to the date from the arrival of last year’s cygnets, this summer the Mute Swan pair have successful hatched five tiny babies. Hopefully this bigger brood will increase the chances of survival for the youngsters after all but one cygnet perished during the last breeding season.
Whilst it was a delight to see the arrival of the cygnets (more about them later!) the surprise did of the day did not end there. The resident female Mallard then burst noisily from her concealed nest hole in the bank, where she has been keeping vigil for several weeks.
As the mother exited in a flurry of wings the sound of tiny cheeps could be heard from within the hollow. Several curious faces then appeared in the entrance. including one unusual bright yellow duckling, eager to leave the nest from which they had hatched only moments ago!
Eager to follow their mother they crept cautiously to the edge of their sanctuary, hesitating momentarily before taking a brave leap down onto the mud and rocks aproximately 6 feet below. It was rather reminiscent of the Barnacle Goose sequence which opens David Attenborough’s ‘Life Story’, although rather less dramatic!
One duckling, slightly stunned by it’s fall, was left behind by the mother and it’s siblings as they scampered to the water. With gulls watching nearby this duckling was left vulnerable, and so I decided to intervene. Quickly scooped the tiny duckling up in my hands up I carried it to the water’s edge to be reunited with it’s family and away from hungry eyes.
The brand new mallard family soon joined the swans out in the middle of the harbour, and it was quite a sight to see so many babies in the same place at the same time and a truly memorable day!
All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 ©
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