Our mute swan cygnet is now around three and a half months old, and is unrecognisable from the tiny, vulnerable ball of grey down that first emerged from the nest back in May. It never ceases to amaze me just how quickly they grow and the time has passed in what feels like the blink of an eye.
I haven’t had as many opportunities to photograph the swan family as I would have liked, so it was great to able to spend a little time with them this morning and document another stage in the cygnet’s life.
The cygnet has now passed through the scruffy ‘ugly duckling’ phase and is sleek and elegant, almost as big as the parents still accompanying it. It will be another couple of months before the cygnet reaches the age of independance and leaves to find a mate and a territory of it’s own.
In the meantime the cygnet must get to grips with it’s new, now fully feathered wings and master the art of flight. Not an easy task for such a large and heavy bird!
I was fortunate enough to capture a few flying practice sessions as the swans spent the high tide in the harbour gap. The cygnet still lacks the flight muscles and skill to achieve liftoff, instead making several clumsy take off runs whilst flapping it’s huge wings over the surface of the water.
It will take a lot more practice yet before it will be able to make a successful flight, for now the cygnet is still well and truly grounded.
After the all important wing strengthening exercises, the cygnet took a vigorous, and equally clumsy bath in the water.
The cygnet looked pretty exhausted after all the activity!
All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2018 ©
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