SWAN LAKE

Close to home in Vollen is perhaps the most famous swan in the area. Last year this females mate was attacked by a dog and had to be put down. Lucky for all who take the walk around this beautiful natural lake she found a new partner, and the result was a clutch of 5 bluish brown eggs – much larger in size than you may expect! The nest site is close to the waters edge built amongst the young shoots of bullrushes. What you can’t see in Aurora’s photos however, is the wire barrier that the council put up to keep both dogs and humans from getting too close. It is also forbidden to walk dogs without a leash throughout the nature trail. It takes you several kilometers past two lakes and through pine forest that leads down to the fjord and winds along the coast.

The male swan is called a Cob – the female – a Pen -and the youngsters Cygnets.

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Hard work done and 5 eggs laid over a period of 2 weeks – now it’s incubation time and that’s 6 weeks keeping them at around 38 degrees.

 

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Six weeks to hatching so plenty of sleep time!

 

 

 

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First cute little cygnet. This was followed by one more which unfortunately didn’t survive. No one knows how it disappeared, but in the morning there was no trace, and she was still incubating the last three eggs and keeping this cute grey ball of fluff warm beneath her wing. She coats it with an oil from her body to help waterproof it’s down.

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Not looking good for the last three!  After nearly two days since the first hatchling there are no signs of cracking in the eggs. The cygnets use a sharp hook on their bill to scratch their way out. They should be calling and she should be responding but the weather is cool and wet for the time of year and the norm is that all should hatch within 24 hours.

 

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Most agree all hope is out for further cygnets – but she has one little beauty to spoil rotten!

 

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Having lost about one third of her bodyweight during the incubation, she’s still a beauty!

The male swan helps the female, to look after their cygnets until they are a year old. The young don’t spend more than one day in the nest once they hatch. If the Pen is still brooding eggs, the Cob will take care of any cygnets that have already hatched and get them into the water. Though they can swim from birth, cygnets may sometimes ride on the backs of their parents or take shelter under their wings until they are old enough to strike out on their own. She will look after her cygnets for a year.

 

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Almost two days after the first Cygnet was born she still turns the remaining eggs and calls in the hope there is still a chance of further hatching.

 

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Afternoon nap.

 

Still in hope that her cygnet gets a brother or sister so she keeps the remaining three eggs warm and lets her little one tuck itself under her wing for warmth. It’s a very wet June!

 

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Two days old and Mum and Dad are teaching by example. She still tucks him/her under her wing for warmth, but she no longer attempts to keep the 3 eggs warm and they go off for frequent trips across the lake.

 

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Family time, and as a spectator it’s fun to see how the cygnet copies everything the parents do – school starts early when you are a swan.

 

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With two devoted parents we all hope the best for this little one – there will be no lack of attention!

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One thought on “SWAN LAKE”

  1. Sad about the other unhatched cygnets. The Mother Swan didn’t give up on them easily. Always amazes me how animals take care of their young. Thanks for sharing this journey in your pictures and words!

    Like

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