Friday, 7 May 2021

Sue Gets a Break

 Weather has been pretty cold lately, with a relentless Northerly wind, sleet and rain. 

Sue has weathered it all, keeping her clutch safe and warm very rarely leaving the nest. 

Today an easing of the wind and short spells of blue sky and sunshine, she came down for a well deserved break. Slim was on hand to take over watching the precious nest.

 Sue had a feed, wash and preen, before heading back to the job in hand. Only hope the weather improves for the hatching, after the longest cold spell I can ever remember.


Wendy Grocott-Jones said...

Hi Joe, hello from the Sankey canal at Wargrave, Newton-Le-Willows in Merseyside. Our resident swans, Vulcan and Beatrix have 7 cygnets this year. They took 3 days to all hatch, the longest hatching I have known in my seven years of watching the swans on the local canal. Perhaps the hard frosts we suffered in April had slowed the development of the downie inside the shell? The one hatched on the third day was visibly smaller than the others but has caught up in size since. The oldest cygnet was desperate to get out of the nest and they all had a quick dip on Friday late afternoon, April 30th. Now, over a week later they are all swimming the entire length of the top pound.
Every year, the adults take the cygnets down a slope (which is a filled-in lock) and into the bottom pound. Last year they tried to get them out of the water at 2 months of age and only some managed it. Three were separated from the family. After a few days, Vulcan kept coming up onto the top pound to chase them and then to grab their feathers and then he started to hold their heads under the water. So, with advice from the Yorkshire Swan and Wildlife Rescue Hospital and The Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton and even the Queen’s Royal Swan Marker, David Barber, it was decided to lift them off the canal and take them to the swan sanctuary in Selby, Yorkshire, where the female was found to have a chin strap of fishing wire so tightly fastened round her lower beak and down her neck that the vet had to anaesthetise her to remove it surgically. They all survived to fly away, four from Yorkshire and four from Newton.
This year, the adults have already started to get out of the top pound and encourage the cygnets to follow them down the slope. However, the bank of the canal wall at that point is too high for the little ones to get out. It is horrible listening to the pen and cob calling and calling the babies and seeing them struggling to climb over debris that accumulates at the end of that section to try and follow their parents.
Would it be sensible to try and make some sort of step or steps to help the cygnets to get out at that point? Or would that be ‘interfering with nature’ and not a good idea?
Presumably, the adults will start to realise their offspring are not big enough yet to do what they want and be happy to stay in the top pound, hopefully!
I hope your pair can nest successfully this year and that the Scottish weather improves in time for hatching. Our newly hatched downies had to suffer torrential rain on their first few days out if the nest.
I loved watching the videos of your rescue ducks and their ducklings .
When I win big on the lottery, I will open a swan sanctuary here ... trouble is, I don’t play!
Thank you for all your efforts to keep your swans safe and healthy.
Take care and keep safe. xx Wendy

jayteescot1 said...

Hi Wendy, Great news about your new family of cygnets ! I hope we will have as many up here next week. You certainly had a long hatching and almost certainly due to the extreme weather conditions, exactly what happened to Disco's eggs as well, and the last one to hatch was also the smallest. Have never seen such a prolonged cold winter. As for interfering with the plight of the cygnets, I would do whatever it takes to remedy the situation. My answer to people who say don't interfere with nature is, " humans have been interfering with nature since the day we crawled out of the swamp". Todays weather and climate change is due to human influence = interference. I have to create a ramp suitable for our cygnets to climb onto he swans island every year, and if they need a bit of human interference to help them out , so be it ! The chinstrap fishing line incident is also an example of your interference and thank God you did. fishing tackle injuries can be horrendous for water birds. Try to keep your Swan family together to avoid them needless stress and suffering, we humans are all too good at dishing it out ! We have the intelligence to interfere sensibly to help other species that share this Planet. Thank you for doing the right thing. Best wishes Joe xx