Friday, 9 September 2011

Swanwatch (6)

After a few days of chilly winds and grey skies I stepped outside the back door this morning to find it much milder. A robin was singing in the oak tree and just for a second or two it felt positively spring-like. It still had that spring feeling as I walked down the road, though the pine-cones and conkers littering the path told clearly enough that it was early autumn. As I neared the old mill I wondered if the swans might be about; they have started to frequent the area again lately. Sure enough, out on the water was one of the adult birds and some of the family. The cygnets are beginning to have a little more confidence these days and venture off a short way on their own - they are becoming unruly teenagers in fact.

One of the adults was waiting patiently in mid-stream for the offspring to re-assemble so that they could all proceed  under the mill-bridge.

But what's this? The other parent bird, the female I presume, had started nest-building at the edge of the river, gathering all the vegetation she could reach and piling it up beneath her. Obviously they're not going to start nesting any time soon.  Maybe she could sense the feeling of spring too, or perhaps she's indicating to her partner that it's time to start chasing away the kids.

I've been reading all the bird books in my possession but can't find any reference to this kind of behaviour. Anyone out there able to shed any light?

For anyone wanting to see the earlier posts you can now simply click on the Swanwatch label on the right sidebar to bring the earlier posts into view.


  1. I can't help John, but I have a friend who is a bird 'freak' so I will ask her. Maybe she is suggesting to the cob that it is time he did a bit of the housekeeping.

  2. It's very odd weather. It's been hot and humid here and yet strangely grey and autumnal. Perhaps it confuses the birds.

  3. Whatever the purpose of the unseasonal nest-building they seem to have abandoned the idea. Thanks for your comments.


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