Sunday, 9 September 2007

The new black swan flexes its muscles

The new arrival shows aggression towards the mute swans

We don't know whether this is a male or female black swan but it isn't popular with our dominant pair of mute swans, nor with Bidou, our resident female black swan. The mute swans used to see off Bidou in the Spring but over the months they seem to have almost accepted her. They all turn up to feed together but Bidou isn't allowed to feed from the same area as the family.

Seeing off the opposition

There have been several battles this week between the newcomer and the mute swans. It seems so aggressive that we think it might be a male. It also has a thicker neck than Bidou and holds it more erect.

The newcomer chases the cob

Another day another battle! This time the mute swan came off the worse for wear. The battle was fierce and ended up under our boat and we had to break it up. The vanquished slunk away to our feeding station looking quite shaken.

The victor with one of the mute swan's feathers in its beak

After the battle, the black swan stood on our floating raft and seemed rather pleased with itself. It still had a white feather in its beak but shortly after, started preening and the feather disappeared.

Bidou takes exception to the newcomer

It's official. Bidou doesn't like the new black swan and has spent most of this week chasing it away. On Thursday she went after it twice in succession and then rejoined the mute swan family, as close as she's allowed that is. She kept calling, using a single note, while the newcomer trumpeted away at her sounding forlorn!

One of the cygnets enjoys an early evening preen after supper

Most evenings, the swans come for supper and then linger close by to have a final wash and brush up before bed. It's hard to believe how much the pair have grown since the Spring but they're not independent yet.

A male tufted duck looking bright eyed

He's probably one of this year's offspring as his white areas are still a little grey and his tuft is quite short. I love the rounded shape of the tufted ducks and the way they lie on their sides to clean their tummies.

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