Friday, August 31, 2012

Swans, Swans and More Swans!!

OK, OK so it's not a swan!!  But isn't this the absolute cutest dog you have seen
excepting your own sweet pup?  So many people have dogs here in England and they all come out for walks in the afternoon.  Tea time for dogs too I would imagine.                      

The first swans we encountered were a cygnet (baby swan) and its mother.  The babies are grey and fuzzy in color and texture.  Since these cygnets were about 4 months old at the swannery,  they were losing their fuzzy feathers and starting to get their long, strong white feathers.  The older swans were also molting. 

It's hard to show you how many swans were actually in this bay at the swannery.  This is just a small little bit of the area that we were able to photograph.  It was absolutely beautiful!  Most of the swans live here indefinitely here at the swanery where they are fed and well cared for medically.  Many research studies are carried out on the population during the years that they are present.  Each swan is individually tagged and known well by the volunteers working with the staff.  

I was completely intrigued by the take off and landings of the swans.  One would decide to fly for a bit and then re-settle in another area of the fingerlet bay, maybe 25 yards away...  6-10 would immediately follow.  The sound of their feet slapping the water as they appeared to run on the surface prior to take off was incredible.  I watched for an hour!

Look at these feet!  It appears that the swan has swim flippers on!  Hard to run with but great for swimming! They are huge things too, probably 8-10 inches across.  The fully spread version is what causes the duck, geese and swans to waddle when they walk and to make the slapping sound on the water when they take flight.  It was wonderful!

After a wonderful day with the swans, we left and had a cream tea in the little village nearby.  Then for the long drive back to out hotel by the castle ruins.  Tomorrow we head for Dover and an overnight stay before we board the ferry to France.

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