Friday, 13 May 2016


Observing and dealing with wildlife over the years can be a heartbreaking task, especially during springtime.

On the other hand the joy and pleasure can be extremely rewarding too.

This morning I went to see if Penny our resident Pen had finished hatching the last of her clutch.

The skies were grey with that biting northerly wind blowing up river and over the nest site. I could see she was covering her brood from the biting wind and she made a few doleful cries, reaching for more nesting material to try and cut the wind from the nest. I realised her plight and gathered some dry nesting material then up to the nest and threw it towards the base of the nest.

Popeye came up to see what I was up to but accepted that I was trying to help and stood to the side.

Penny gratefully grabbed at the material and pulled it up to raise the edge of the nest. 

The wind was cold and keen but she raised her wing to allow a couple of cygnets out to observe the proceedings.

The trust I have built up over the past decade with Popeye and Penny stood me in good stead today, as they allowed me full access to their nest site and contents. 

Maybe the fact that I stood on the windward side breaking the wind, and also provided more nesting material had something to do with it , but it was a profound moment of complete trust.

To cap it all, the sun broke through the clouds and she stood up to reveal a beautiful brood of 6 cygnets and a couple of other eggs yet to hatch.

 She tidied a few bits of nesting material, then to my amazement left me and Popeye in complete charge of the brood as she went down to the moat for a drink.

This total display of trust with such powerful birds at this point in their nesting cycle, was utterly amazing to me. I had the presence of mind to get the camera rolling and captured many still images and some video footage as well.  Enjoy the sequence of events and short video below.( Apologies for not having the wind noise reduction switched on. )


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