The Ugly Duckling
|Mother and kids|
When we arrived in late July last year the cygnets were already adult sized and quite brown in colour. Over the next six months we watched them grow even bigger, slowly fade to white, then disappear to find a mate and stretch of the lake to call their own.
About two months ago Harvey and I observed pairs of these giant white birds making their first clumsy attempts to build their nests on a patches of gravel that had reasonable access to the water but were still high enough up so as not to be inundated when the snow melted. One day I noticed two such swans opposite the school on the lake at Pully struggling to find enough materials to build a reasonable quality abode for their kids to crack their way out of in the not too distant future and waddle down to the water for that first swim called life. However on the other side of one of the pipes where they were building their home there was an abundance of materials they could not see. So I did what any good neighbour would do and passed it over the fence to where they were.
Now these two swans are sitting have been sitting on five eggs for about 35 days. That means they are due to hatch any day now, but me being me I wanted to tell this story today and get some photos up of another swan family that hatched out a week ago at the eastern end of Ouchy.
Harvey and I found them last Tuesday when we were on one of our lake runs. When I went back on Wednesday the parents and the babies were gone. I returned to the nest on Friday and a long time local said that hooligans had done it, frightened them away. On Sunday I stopped by again when out running but no luck. Then, as I continued to run east about 100 metres there they were. Two parents and five cygnets happily lapping up the new food on the lake that the overnight rain had provided. A lady from Chicago who was also watching them said she thinks they were scared away from the original nest by the motor boats that do skiing there in the afternoons.
Yesterday when Harvey and I were on a hike/run back from Lausanne they were almost on the shore, with three of the cygnets riding on the mother's back. The photo opportunities yo get when you don't have a camera. Jo and I went for a walk yesterday afternoon and as well as the swans we also found a couple of new duck families. This has been such a great experience for me of nature in action and something that I really want to share with the world. So for those who love ducks and swans, enjoy.