Friday, 5 April 2019

Deadly Duke

                      It is often said nature can be cruel, today a savage reminder on the river of just how deadly this can be. Penny is currently sitting on the nest, and Duke on guard nearby watching for any threat to their territory. 

Sadly a rare visitor in the shape of a Whooper Swan, made a fatal mistake of flying into the river at this time. It was immediately pounced on by Duke and relentlessly attacked for more than 10 minutes. 

                      It could not escape as Duke was too powerful and on it's back the whole time, holding it's head under water. As I was too far away for any close up shots, I was told by a witness that the Whooper died shortly after from exhaustion and drowning.

This is very sad, and witnessed by several distressed onlookers. We often see it on TV as the natural world in action, a reminder that life and death are never far away, even in the seemingly tranquil world of graceful swans. 
However sad, Duke was doing what male Swans do - protecting his domain and nesting mate.   The Photo at the top is from two years ago when Duke overpowered another Mute Swan, this did not result in a fatality and Duke let him go as they were on dry land. Fights between Mute Swans rarely end in fatalities as one or other usually backs off. In this case, the fact that it was a different species may have made the difference between life and death.

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