Sunday, 12 April 2009

Nesting Swans

Today was such a glorious day, full of sunshine and clear skies. We ventured out for a walk at Greenway Bank, a nature reserve just north of the Potteries. The birds were singing and the squirrels were very active. I know I have been on a country walk when I have seen a squirrel, just as well as I know I have been on a good drive when I have seen and Eddie Stobart lorry.
The squirrels at Greenway Bank were out and about consuming the seeds and bread left for the birds. This lucky chap also had a handful of peanuts to go at. The light at this point was as good as it gets for wildlife snapshots.
High in a nearby tree were two nuthatches. They looked like a couple and were chirruping and flitting around in the upper branches of a very large beech tree.
We moved on and walked along the valley to the waterfall at the far end of the park. On our return we passed a pair of swans. They were a nesting pair of mute swans, the male and female each taking turns to incubate their clutch of eggs.
This photograph was taken just after the change over, the male returned to the nest and the female swam off to feed, chasing a group of Canada geese away as she left the nest.
The male swan seemed to be tidying the edge of the nest mound for quite a while, not seeming to be satisfied with the way the material was placed.
Mute swans get their name from the fact that they do not have a call. They are truely mute. However, they can be very aggressive at this time of year, so they are best avoided. These swans are very big and powerful birds.
Swan.MOV (10Mb)

On our return home we stopped off at Jacksons Garden Centre, East of Tunstall. They have a small herd of Sika Deer, which were in the far field and too far away for casual photography. The cafe is a good stop and we had coffee and scones. I purchased a few plants of cauliflower and Brussels sprouts which are now planted in the garden. With the trees coming into leaf and the garden plants starting to flower, it really does feel like Spring.

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