Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Swan Watch IV: The Washout

Now before I start don’t panic, today’s post has a happy ending.

I was up early this morning and soon after I headed out hoping to get some piccies of “our” swans.

This morning was bitterly cold (by Aussie standards anyway), intermittently raining and blowing a gale. In fact we have had atrocious weather all week, flooding rains right across the state and damaging winds in a lot of areas (it’s been Ok here in terms of wind).

Because of the weather I drove down to the swans’ pond. When I arrived I couldn’t see any sign of our family.

The only water fowl I could see was a solitary coot.More concerning is the pond has seen a rise and then fall in water level with the rain. This piccie shows a lot of reed debris left as the water has risen and then retreated. Somewhat concerning to me the swans’ nest has been destroyed by the minor flood. These short reeds are the ones that their platform was tethered to. As the water has risen the platform has been floated off and then broken up.

Interestingly some large water-bird has begun building another platform just nearby. I guess it isn’t our swans, but who knows.

As I said I couldn’t see any sign of the swans. I wasn’t really worried because the weather was awful and I guessed they were hunkered down somewhere keeping the babies warm. So I began walking around the perimeter of the pond, planning to check it and the ponds nearby.

But that was not to be, it began to really rain, so I beat a retreat.

A bit later looking at the weather I got the impression that I wasn’t going to be able to get out to get any piccies. I guessed I would have to post an up in the air post for today’s Swan Watch. Deb and I decided to go for a drive.

We drove up to Ballarat (about 90 minutes away) to have a look at Lake Wendouree, the lake is a shallow volcanic crater lake that lies in the heart of Ballarat. We wanted to have a look because with the drought we have had over the past few years the lake has been totally dry.

Until this week that is, we have had so much rain in the state in recent weeks and especially this week that the lake has begun to fill up again.While we were at the lake I braved the rain to grab a few shots of another swan family (I figured they would make a consolation prize given I couldn’t post piccies of ours).

The cob was keeping a close eye on me to make sure I didn’t get too close.He is the proud father of five cygnets. As you can probably see they are quite a lot larger than “our” babies. I’d guess these guys hatched three or four weeks ago.

Now to the happy ending.

When I got home this evening my daughter Io said the weather had improved for a while this afternoon. She and her boyfriend had gone for a walk. They saw swans grazing near the pond.

Very kindly they took some photos on a mobile phone (hence the quality).
In this first you can see some wood ducks and a couple of swans.Getting a bit closer they got some pictures of our babies (see the fuzzy grey blobs), before the cob told them to move on.
So all is well with our swans :-)


Michele Emrath said...

I'm glad to know your swans are okay! What an idyllic life you seem to lead...Piccies and drives with your wife...Sounds wonderful.


Piedmont Writer said...

I'm so glad you found them. Thanks for the update.

How's Dave doing this week?

Old Kitty said...

Thank goodness the swan family are ok! Yay!!

But that is some rain and flooding though! What's up with the weather?!?!

Thanks for the updates on the swan family. How many babies do they have? They're so tiny!! I hope they all survive.

Thanks for the pics and well done your daughter!!!

Take care

Jaydee Morgan said...

Glad to hear your swan family is doing well :)

The areas around us have also had a lot of rain and flooding this year. I'll be happy to see the sun again - and hopefully soon.

Jemi Fraser said...

Good news - the post title had me a bit worried! Glad to see them up and about :)

Vampires and Tofu said...

Yay! Glad the swans are alright!

Christine said...

Glad that Family Swan is well. Love that solitary coot - so black but with its white blaze and wonderfully beady eye.

Kyna said...

'Fuzzy grey blobs' lol.

I always love a happy ending :D

Susan Fields said...

I'm glad you told us at the beginning that the post had a happy ending, or I would have been worried all the way through. Glad they're okay!

Kristen M. said...

I love watching the babies grow. We had a tiny rabbit in our yard this year that is now almost full grown. We definitely worried too when we didn't see it for a few days. Always good to have your fears allayed!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Lovely! Glad they are safe and sound!

Kathleen Jones said...

So glad they are ok! Have seen a couple of black swans here in NZ too. and the weather has been atrocious here as well.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm glad you told us they were okay up front... :)

Al said...

Hi Michele,
Safe swans = happy Al.
As to an idyllic life, yes life is OK, but I do tend to focus on the good bits :-)

Hi Anne,
I’m glad too.
Dave is doing really well, he is all but better.

Hi Jennifer,
Yay, indeed.
As to the weather it is winter down this way, and in the South of Oz winter is wet.
The swans just have the two that hatched out originally. I guess (but don’t know ) that these are first time parents and the small number of hatchlings is partly inexperience.
The babies are tiny, but they are doing Ok so far, and the parents are very devoted.
Yes indeed, Io did a great job finding them for me.

Hi Jaydee,
It’s great isn’t it?
I am almost desperate for a day of sun at the moment.

Hi Jemi,
That is why I opened the post with a reassurance. It is good to see them moving around.

Hi Angelique,
Yay indeed!

Hi Christine,
It is excellent news about the swans. The coot was gorgeous

Hi Kyna,
They really did look like fuzzy grey blobs in the piccies.
A happy story is great isn’t it?

Hi Susan,
I was well aware that people were a bit worried after the start of my previous post. So I didn’t want to scare anybody this time.

Hi Kristen,
I love baby animals too, it is a worry when wild ones you are watching don’t show up. I get so involved that it is hard to accept that often wild animals end up as food for others, I don’t think that is particularly likely for these little guys as their parents are so fiercely protective.
I have to admit rabbits aren’t my favourite, I think they are very cute as kits. However, they are a feral pest here and do untold environmental damage.!

Hi Alyssa,
It is lovely to see them same and well.

Hi Kathleen,
The black swans in NZ are descended from Aussie birds, a mix of introduced and natural migrants.
It is a shame your trip was timed with winter :-(

Hi Sharon,
I didn’t want to give anyone grey hairs.