• Claire Stott

End of an era?

Saturday 11th April: Isolation Day 20

Strangely I haven’t seen our resident pair of majestic mute swans since last Autumn, after a disappointing summer where the pair lost their brood of cygnets very early on. Whilst it isn’t unusual for these swans to disappear for most of the winter, their return is now well overdue and I suspect they may have moved on to a new territory.

As if to prove my suspicions it appears that a new swan has now taken up residence here. Having seen it a few times far up river, this morning it visited the tidal inlet during high water, perfect timing as I headed out for my daily dose of nature therapy!

The new visitor, with boat reflections creating colourful reflections behind

It swam towards me with that lazy elegance that only swans have, but with it’s wings raised in an aggressive posture. Whilst I was thrilled to see the swan, it appeared the feeling was not mutual.

Wings raised in aggression

A warning hiss…

I backed away to a safe distance, and fortunately after a few minutes the swan decided I was not particularly threatening and did stick around for me to capture a few images as it fed by the water’s edge.


As the swan fed, all the while it kept a suspicious watch on me, it’s wary eye glinting in the sunlight.

On closer inspection I would guess that this particular swan was a male, due to his impressive size and the large fleshy black patch above his beak, which is much small in females.

The female swan who previously held this territory, for comparison

I could see no sign of any leg rings beneath the water surface (our previous pair were ring with a silver and blue ID rings on each leg), although it was quite difficult to confirm 100% without the swan actually coming out of the water.

I am fairly confident though judging by this, and his behaviour that this is not one of the familiar swans, but a newbie who has taken over this patch. He looks to have made himself quite at home already.

So it looks like the tale of the Rheidol mute swans is sadly over, as is there rather charming relationship with the lone goose, also long since disappeared. You can still read all about their trials of life here: https://bit.ly/2RyWv5d

I look forward to seeing what new dramas and encounters the future will hold for our new swan.

Shaking water from his feathers

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All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2020 www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#wildlife #birdwatching #outdoors #aberystwyth #swan #muteswans #birds #birdphotography #naturetherapy #birdlover

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