Thursday, 7 February 2013

A whiteness of swans

The surviving parent (I think the mother) and one or two fledged swanlings have been at the pond each day over the last week. I didn't see any severe attack of the swanling who remained behind, but all the flyins were aggressive and kept the castout swanling well back from white bread showers, chasing it away and sometimes forcing it from the water. These behaviours prompted me to think it's all about territory for swans. Good pond with reliable white bread supply. Yep we'll take it. They don't hate the left behind/castout swanling. It's just a threat to their range.

The photos below are from the weekend. You can see the mother is still bigger and her black and white colouring is more pronounced than her brood. She is at the back of the group of three and the ones near her are the close gang who fledged in December. It was these three against the one who remained.

However there's other news. Today is the first day since last autumn that there are no swans at the pond. All gone, even the runt. As an eternal optimist I imagine they all flew off together to explore new pasture and will pop back in from time to time!

And more news. The drain the little Buff-banded Rail fell into is also a fish trap. Today the water level has dropped and there are several dead and dying fish, about 20 cm long. I don't know what kind, maybe carp. I performed no rescue.

Anyway here are the swans. The collective noun 'a whiteness of swans' is not the commonest phase in English, but I didn't make it up. I guess it entered English prior to Europeans 'discovering' Australia.

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