• Claire Stott

Survival of the fittest

A couple of weeks earlier than last year, and once again we have a cygnet out on the river Rheidol, hatched from the resident swan pair, whose lives I have followed closely over recent years.

Sadly however, it seems the pairs’ success of last year (when they reared 5 cygnets to independence) is not set to repeat this summer. Just one tiny, fragile cygnet appears to have survived the initial few days, with at least five cygnets reported to have hatched out (sadly I didn’t see these myself). Some local suggest they drowned over the rapid waters which occur as the tide falls, however sightings of a mink in the area is also a probable culprit.

The sole survivor

Whatever the cause, the parents will have their work cut out in the coming days and weeks to protect their final cygnet during this crucial, and most vulnerable stage of it’s life.

With the loss of most of their brood so early on, the parents are understandably very wary and protective of their sole survivor. Whereas in previous years they have been content to bring their young close to me, today they kept a safe distance out in the middle of the open water.

Cygnet being closely guarded as it feeds

Flanked by both parents

Cygnet with the cob (rear) and pen (front)

Protective parent

Whilst it was a shame not to have captured some closeups of the cygnet, the lighting today was simply perfect. creating beautiful reflections on the still water.

Little and large

Mirror image

Both parents with the cygnet hidden from sight

— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2018 © http://www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#breedingseason #swans #birdwatching #aberystwyth #cygnet #photographer #birder #muteswans #birdphotographer #ornithology #babybirds #reflections #nature #riverrheidol

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