Abbotsbury and their swans…

Awhile ago My Beautiful Things posted a picture of a swan which reminded me of our trip last year.  While they are beautiful creatures I have a bit of a mixed history with them.  My Grandparents lived in Fairford back in the 70’s and we were visiting one time when I was 3 or 4.  They had swans down by the river and I got a little too close.  At the time they were bigger than me so when one of them warned me off it was a bit scary!   I’m bigger now so it’s not a problem.  🙂

Last May my husband and I visited Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset.  A wonderful sanctuary for swans.  These are not owned by the queen!  Neither do they have their wings clipped.  They do wear leg rings so the swannery knows which swans belong and which don’t.  We were lucky to go about the time the eggs were hatching.  The little signets are adorable.  People need to be careful walking about as the swans can put their nests anywhere including the pathways.

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Apparently swans will mate for life.  Unless there is a divorce.  Interestingly enough they are similar to humans in this way.  abbotsbury 1 2013

They were just fluffy bundles of cuteness.  Sometimes the parents can’t care for them or there are too many to care for so Abbotsbury has adoption programs where they have other swans look after them.  Also, swans imprint on the parents voices and as it is a small area they can’t always imprint given the thousands of voices so that family may be isolated until the imprinting is complete.

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Thank goodness for a zoom lens and a nest near the pathway.  🙂

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There were still many eggs to hatch.  Both parents take turns keeping the eggs warm.

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Notice the interloper?  Yes, black swans are not native to the UK, they are Australian.  Once in a while one shows up and stays for bit.  Usually from somewhere local and they got loose.  If they don’t cause any issues they are ok, however, they get evicted if they are a problem child.

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This swan came out of nowhere to defend his lady’s honour.  There was a cad bothering her and her babes doing the “Hey, you come here often” bit that is so popular with the ladies.  The flying bugs in this area were horrible!  It was like bug season here stateside.  You don’t see screens on the windows in the UK as it usually isn’t a problem but here there were clouds of them!

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Swans are graceful looking when they are sitting or flying.  Walking, landing, or trying to take off is a whole other story!  They “crash” land more than anything else while just avoiding faceplanting in the water.  🙂

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Couple of times a day it is feeding time.  They know which side their bread is buttered on!  They love it and it was great to watch.

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This guy thought a few of us were close enough, thank you very much.  We were about 10 feet away but he gave us a lovely show.

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Another beautiful family.

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Every once in awhile we’d catch a glimpse of some pheasant.  I hope next year to take our kids to see this place.  It’s fascinating.