Thursday, 20 December 2018

Highlights Of The Year

With the shortest day and Christmas just days away, I thought it would be nice to show some of the Highlights of this year. 

We all waited with bated breath to see if Duke would mate with Penny, and if they would have any cygnets this year - after previous years failure. 

Duke was much more active this year and his health and appetite were good, I gave him special attention last winter and this seems to have helped his conditioning. 

Penny started nest building a little later than usual, but still managed to lay 8 eggs even though she is now about 17 years old. 

Once again I got the hatching date spot on, estimated at the 16th May. I felt it was going to be a success when Duke started sitting up beside Penny some days before hatching - he could hear the cygnets calling from inside the eggs ! 

Sure enough on a pleasant 16th May, the first cygnets started to appear, I was ecstatic ! 
Within 24 hours it was apparent that Penny had successfully hatched a full brood of 7 cygnets.

Duke had done the business this year and took a full part in escorting the balls of fluff to the water and back to the nest later. 
He did cause a few anxious times when the cygnets could not exit the water -  he could, but the bank was too steep for the wee ones. At one point I had to get into the Moat and chase them to the end of the island, where it was shallow enough for the wee ones to get out of the water !

Duke was not pleased and had a go at me, not understanding the predicament his offspring were in.

At only a few days old, cold water can kill the cygnets if exposed for too long to cold temperatures. 

Only one egg out of the clutch of 8 was not fertilised, so Penny had her full family to look after once again. She has laid 80 eggs during the last eleven years and raised 70 cygnets to fledging - what a magnificent Swan !
Short clip below in the early days.


Not forgetting the ducks, Disco the disabled duck had 6 ducklings at home. These were put into the river at 9 weeks old.

There were also 35  surviving ducklings hatched on the lower reaches of the River.

All in all, it has been a very good year, and the good weather was an added bonus !  Enjoy !

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