Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
Last week, I was in Ballydehob with two of the girls from respite in Bantry. We stopped at the bottle banks, at the narrow end of the estuary. Here a few herring and Black headed Gulls, Mallards and Mute Swans patrol the water. When I went a little bit down a small slip into the water, the Swans started to become curious and came to have a look. They were waiting for a few chunks of bread, obviously. Something they won't get from me. I should have raided the kitchen for wilted lettuce, or some fruit.
As it was, Mr. Cob was having none of this waiting and started climbing out of the water. He waddled slowly towards me, and I kept a sure distance between him and me. He was not hissing, but he was not happy either.
His mate had left the water also by now, but he still waddled towards me. I was back on the road by now, and she started quietly feeding on the grass. I liked her approach: Ok, if you don't come and feed me, I'll do it myself!
Mind you, I was well aware that he could kill me with a single smash of his wing and neck. I was not taking any chances. I was however interested in why he reacted differently to me than to the two girls behind and next to me.
There were no cygnets to be seen, so he was not defending these.
Eventually, he joined her, even though it was against his principle that humans are on this planet only to feed the waterfowl.
Pen feeding happily on the left; the cob, on the right, is just nibbling a little snack. you can see at her posture that she trusted us, while he was still a bit on edge and still unsure of what to think of me.
I can only find one reason for his behaviour of singling me out from us three girls. There was one major difference between us of course, and that is that he would have seen a "short square-ish predator" and perhaps he did not recognise me as a vertical human, and was it all more about defending his territory? he did grunt now and then. Something was weird about it. he was not simply begging for food. Which is what I expected from him.
I was eager to see some waders, and I was also disappointed not to see any Teal. So we walked on, and crossed underneath the old railway bridge towards the little footbridge.
Hooded Crow, Corvus cornix, examining this bicycle underneath the old West Cork Railway Bridge.
Pair of Mallards, Anas platyrrhyncos.
Dinner for Two.
Blackheaded Gull, Larus ridibundus.
Little Egret, Egretta garzetta
Beyond the Little Egret was this wader. It was too far off for me to identify it. Neither could I just the size. I had no idea of the distance either. Could be a Curlew. I had missd seeing waders here, but the road stopped. The estuary, and the water didn't of course.
Opposite the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen we found this Grey Heron, Andea cinerea, was on the lookout for its lunch in the river Ilen below it.
And finally, the two lovely girls who brought me here
Catherine and Maura, 2 of the staff at respite.
I had hoped to go to Killarney this time, but there was no way we would be able to with all the black ice on the road. Even going to Ballydehob, about 22km. from Bantry, we still had to wait until midday before it was safe enough to hit the road. Perhaps next time?
LEAVE YOUNG BIRDS BE!!
Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!
The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.