Friday, 22 February 2008

Misty mornings, great sunsets and swan fights

February sunset

The weather has been gorgeous for some time and we've had some wonderful sunrises as well as sunsets. Ironically, I've been laid low with bronchitis and haven't been able to get out with the camera during this time. The view from the bridge onto the island would have been spectacular had I been able to get out.

Territorial battles are hotting up for the Spring

The dominant pair of mute swans patrol this stretch of the river regularly and drive off any other swans foolish enough to stray into their territory, especially the younger ones. Bidou, the black swan, is allowed to keep them company and she sometimes drives off other mute swans too. Another black swan appears from time to time but Bidou prefers the company of her mute mates and consistently drives it away.

An early morning stretch in the mist

It's beautiful to watch the swans preening and then stretching and flapping their wings. Sometimes they do it in unison. I've been wanting to get a particular image for years now but I'm sure the swans know this and wait till I don't have the camera to hand before they oblige! One day I'll get the image I want but it's obviously going to take patience.

Thunder thighs in the pond

This is our 'pet' coot, if coots can ever be said to be 'pets'. It has lost its mate and is probably quite old now, and certainly not tolerated by the local dominant pair. It seems to be somewhat arthritic, but manages to thunder along the deck to greet us when we're dispensing wheat for the swans and ducks. Hence the nickname "Thunder Thighs".

Our dominant mute swans on the warpath

When you see the swans with their wings raised like this they are displaying. When they're courting they flare their wings at each other and they do likewise when they warn others off their territory. Swans weigh surprisingly little for their size but you'd never guess it when you see the way they power their way through the water with tremendous force when they're on the attack.

Double click on any of the images to enlarge them.