There’s a resident pair of swans in Market Drayton, the ones that came for breakfast the other day. They have 5 cygnets, almost fully grown, now. In fact they’ve been doing “circuits and bumps” down the straight section of canal opposite the pontoon moorings.
Unfortunately, as soon as they can fly, the parents evict the youngsters from their “patch”, and 2 were shifted yesterday, with the cob chasing them off further up the canal. To make matters worse a pair of juveniles have appeared today, obviously looking for somewhere they can call home. The residents were having none of it; no-one one was sharing their bit of canal.
The first I knew about the commotion was a bump and scrabble on the back deck, going out to look I saw one of the local young birds on the towpath, having used our counter to get out of the water. The dad was cruising up and down, feathers fluffed in a threat display, so it looks like one of the evicted cygnets had tried to return home.
He waddled off up the towpath, then all hell broke loose down near the bridge. The two interlopers had turned up and were being chased off by the local adults.
One of the newcomers took the hint and slung his hook, the other didn’t get the chance.
Mobbed by both of the locals, they proceeded to try to drown him, holding his head under the water and standing on his back.
Even when he tried to escape onto the bank there was no reprieve.
The three remaining local juveniles joined in as well…
But he did manage to get away and climbed out onto the towpath behind Seyella. I had to shoo the other birds away, they were all for carrying on the persecution onshore.
Bedraggled and exhausted, he took a few minutes to get his breath back before he too set off up the towpath away from the area.
He still had enough energy to threaten Meg, though. She pointedly ignored him…
And they look so sweet don’t they, serenely cruising along the waterways. Actually, they are pretty nasty, attacking boats large and small, drowning ducklings that have the misfortune to be competing with cygnets for food, and beating up towpath users if they stray too near a nest site.
One of the local dog walkers told me that this pair had killed one of their own offspring last year because it wouldn’t leave the nest site.
Today started bright enough, but it became showery by mid morning. George and Carol were having visitors so reversed back to moor near Bridge 63. With the wet weather the towpath alongside us here is rapidly turning into a morass. So we’ll move both the remaining boats back to join them tomorrow.
Locks 0, Miles 0