I find this such an inspirational scene. On my walk the other day I noticed a mute swan swimming in one of the canal pools; it was definitely watching me slightly warily. As I strolled slowly along the towpath opening my senses to the world around in my quest to clue myself in to my surroundings I came across his nesting mate. In the background was a school group – children launching carefully their canoes into the water being watched by a teacher. Such a nature-nurture sort of scene.
There are two pairs of nesting swans at the top of the Caen Hill locks. One of the things I love about living here is that walk I can take any time in any season and all the new and different things that can be seen, from incredible views of the distant hills to the minutiae of nature along the banks of the towpath. I feel I have come to know these local swans in a superficial way. I’ve seen them raise families, teach their young to fly and raise new ones. One year they lost all their babies and I felt their sorrow, I think many of the local walkers felt the same.
My photo led me to research swans a little. Here are one or two facts:
Young swans usually live as part of a flock until they are about 4 years old, when they become adults. They will seek out a mate, commonly from the flock they are living in, then they will find their own mating territory. If another mating pair is nearby then there could be a territorial battle. The losers having to move on in search of another “patch”.
Swans will normally mate at anytime from spring through to summer, with the cygnets being born anytime from May through to July, and after the nest has been built, which typically takes 2-3 weeks, the egg laying process begins. An egg is laid every 12-24 hours, then, once all the eggs have been laid (about 2 – 3 weeks or so), they will all be incubated at the same time with hatching usually 42 days (6 weeks) later.
I don’t know when she laid her eggs but I will keep an eye out for the babies and hopefully catch them in a photo soon.