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New Arrivals!! 2014

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Laikipia on Mon May 05, 2014 6:57 pm

Oh dear, what a shame, but I guess the swan is top dog, or swan and so gets to say who can and who can't stay on the pond!

Lovely photos and thanks for letting us know Safariman. I hope all 13 stay safe, as well as the Moorhens.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  littlewid on Mon May 05, 2014 9:14 pm

Apologies for my absence on this thread Safariman but im back now and catching up.

What a shame that Mrs Duck has lost one of her ducklings but so impressive that she still has 13 and I am thrilled to see that little Solo is still there  bounce 
I suppose there was going to come a time that the swans were going to stop tolerating the chicks but it is a real shame that it has happened, I was hoping they could all live along side each other and be happy but I suppose they are only protecting their future cygnets. That nest is rather mahoosive and I have a story of some swans that I will post tomorrow, a different story to yours and a completely different nest as well.
So the Moorhen is on his own, that's a shame as I was hoping there would also be some more moorhen chicks as well this summer, maybe next year there will be some.
I wonder how Mr Duck lost part of his wing? do you think he had been attacked by the swans or maybe the other male mallards who are after Mrs Duck?
The pictures are wonderful but I did feel sorry for the little Moorhen being chased away, a bit scary for him. I do hope Mr & Mrs Duck and chicks still come to be fed and that you are able to keep an eye out for them but I suppose that may be hard as they are not around the pond so much now but I hope that leaving the pond doesn't put the chicks in danger as they have survived so well being there and they are still so young to protect themselves from danger.
Looking forward to updates when you can and hopefully to seeing some little cygnets and also seeing the chicks continue to grow and stay at 13.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  whitestarling on Tue May 06, 2014 11:22 am

That's a shame the Swan is getting so aggressive towards the Ducklings, understandable I suppose though if they are breeding their own little ones, he will want to try to protect his territory for the Cygnets to have as much exclusive rights to the food, and swans are n=known for their aggression when with young. He does look really strong, and powerful in your shots. The Duckings are really growing fast, and will hopefully make it, especially if Mother Duck has the sense to take them to the River, but I suppose she looks on the Pond as a food scource as well. I wonder if the Male Ducks wing was damaged by the Male Swan it could have been trying to frighten that off as well.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Safariman on Tue May 06, 2014 3:39 pm

There was no sign of the ducklings on the pond this morning. I am pretty certain she has taken them on to the river away from the swans and is only returning occasionally with them to forage for food. I guess they are probably big enough and strong enough to cope with the river.
WS, I think the male duck damaged his wing earlier in the year probably during the hectic chases after females!!
This afternoon I looked out of my kitchen window and saw on the pond what I thought to be a very small duckling however when I went out to investigate I was rather gobsmacked to find it was not a duckling but a moorhen chick!! They must have built their nest well out of sight in the thick undergrowth around the edge of the pond that is impossible to see through. It is now obvious why I had only been seeing a single moorhen, the other was incubating the eggs!! I was even more amazed when I managed to count 6 chicks!!! When the male swan approached the moorhens drove him off in no uncertain terms. I think life on the pond is going to be become more dramatic. The moorhens seem to have built a small temporary sanctuary nest in some reeds on the pond close to the swans nest. Hopefully it will give the chicks some protection from any predators.
The moorhens had been able to fool everybody as to the existence of their main nest!!!
I managed to get a few quick pics of the brand new arrivals.



My first glimpse of one of the new arrivals









The temporary sanctuary towards the middle of the pond

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  littlewid on Tue May 06, 2014 5:10 pm

http://i70.servimg.c  what fantastic news to come home too Safariman, it's brilliant that they have managed to keep their eggs and chicks a secret from everyone, what clever Moorhens they are. I bet you thought you must be seeing things this morning when that little chick popped up and what an adorable little chick it is. 6 of them is just wonderful and clever to have had the nest hidden but near the swans for protection. Isn't it great that the little Moorhens managed to drive off the Male Swan, just goes to show what good parents they are, not afraid of that big white bird! Lets hope they manage to keep their chicks safe but as you say, when the swans have their cygnets it could get a bit feisty on the pond so maybe Mr & Mrs Duck have done the right thing with their chicks and moved them away, just a shame that they are now not so easy to follow but hopefully they will all stay safe.
Thank you for the update and the wonderful pictures, that really has given me a huge smile this evening, I certainly wasn't expecting that......they are sneaky little Moorhens aren't they  I love you 

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Laikipia on Thu May 08, 2014 8:18 am

WOW  It's all go on your pond Safariman, and what brilliant news about the Moorhens, I hope they stay safe.

Thanks for all the lovely pics and the update.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Safariman on Fri May 09, 2014 3:19 pm

It has been a bit difficult to check on the coming and going on the pond for the last couple of days as the weather has been pretty awful with lots of heavy rain, however I did manage a quick visit this morning in between the showers. The ducklings are keeping a very low profile with only occasional visits but I am fairly certain that they are all still around. The swans are busy incubating when they are not harrying everybody for food which makes going to the pond a bit of a challenge!! The moorhens still have the 6 chicks and they were well hidden in the long grass on the margins of the pond. Mum and Dad seem to be doing a good job so far but it looks to be exhausting work trying to keep them all fed!!
A few not very good pics of the chicks which as you can see are well hidden.












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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Laikipia on Fri May 09, 2014 5:44 pm

Thanks  for the update Safariman, good to know all is well on your pond. I hope the weather gets better for you over the weekend.

Lai  cheers 
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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  littlewid on Sat May 10, 2014 5:03 pm

It's good to know that as far as you are aware Safariman all the chicks are still there, which is good news, maybe mum moving off the pond was a good idea. Hopefully they will make an appearance so you might be able to get some more pictures of them.

It's exciting to wait and see how many eggs the swans have and how many cygnets they have. I would imagine they are getting very protective of the nest and their area of the pond.

The Moorhen chicks are well hidden aren't they but again that's probably a good thing until they are a little bigger, we don't want anything to happen to them. I know the weather has been rather dreadful so you managing to get those pictures is wonderful, it's great to see them and I see either mum or dad has some food in her beak there. It's also good news to know that all six are still there as well.

Thanks for the update and the lovely pictures as well safariman,I always look forward to seeing your updates and pics  Very Happy 

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Safariman on Mon May 12, 2014 3:47 pm

13 ducklings + Mrs D, 6 moorhen chicks + Mr & Mrs M and the swans happily incubating!!!! Everybody was around this morning so I managed to get a few photos.



13 ducklings with mum in the background









The ducklings are growing very quickly and are now over a month old.



The moorhens busily feeding their chicks









There's always one who hangs around on his own!!



The swans about to change over incubating duties.




Just after I finished taking the photos the LA contractors arrived to cut the grass, so all the daisies have disappeared!!


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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Laikipia on Mon May 12, 2014 4:02 pm

http://i73.servimg.c  Safariman, some more lovely photos and such good news that all the 13 ducklings are looking so well.  I must admit those little moorhens are a little bit like an ugly duckling at this stage  What a Face   It's lovely to know all is well on your pond and that the swans are taking it in turn, can't be long now ......

Shame about the daisies, although they do take over a bit  Very Happy 

Thanks for updating us and for sharing more photos.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  littlewid on Mon May 12, 2014 7:57 pm

http://i70.servimg.c   all 13 Ducklings all safe and well and growing at a rate of knots there Safariman. Don't they all look really well and more like mini mum and dad now  I love you  it's also lovely to see little Solo amongst them all. I think they are going to change really quickly now.

The Moorhen chicks are fab, scruffy little devils but so adorable. I love the picture of the one on his own, he looks like he's had an electric shock  affraid It's so nice to see mum feeding them and the parents are obviously doing a grand job with them.

I really love the picture of the Swan with the daisy's and I think it's a shame they have now gone, they are pretty little things. Mr & Mrs Swan are obviously doing a fab job of incubating the eggs. Has it calmed down a bit on the pond or are the Swans still quite protective of their area?

Thanks for the updates on them all and the fantastic photo's Safariman. Knowing everyone is ok makes you rest easy  Very Happy 

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  whitestarling on Thu May 15, 2014 11:43 am

WOW They really have grown in such a short , and there are still 13 that's brilliant. Also great that Mr & Mrs M and their chicks are doing so well Lovely photos again Safariman thanks I especially like the two of the Adult Moorhen with one of the chicks at the edge of the water, and feeding one of them. Shame about the daisies hopefully they will grow back. Has the Swans aggression dropped off a bit now they are incubating, form the photos they seem more accepting of the others on the pond ?

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Safariman on Mon May 19, 2014 2:40 pm

There are now only 5 moorhen chicks and I would not be surprised if they loose at least another one. The problem for the moorhens is that the chicks unlike the mallard ducklings do not feed themselves, they rely entirely on mum and dad to stuff food into their beaks!! This makes it very hard work for the parents particularly to ensure they all get fed and a weak one can easily be ignored. 4 seems to be about the maximum number they can cope with. However we shall see what transpires in the coming days.
The ducklings seem to have left the pond and gone onto the nearby river. I have not seen them for a couple of days. Although the swans tolerated them on the bank of the pond and I even saw them all relaxing next to the swans nest with the swan incubating, as soon as they went on the pond and there was any food around the swans chased them off. They probably decided the river was a safer option now that they are a lot bigger. At the moment the swans are ignoring the moorhen chicks although mum and dad know to keep well out of the way if the swans are on the pond.
It has been fascinating watching the dynamics of the pond over the last few weeks as the inhabitants changed!!!
There are a few photos of the last time  I saw the ducklings plus the female swan doing her exorcises after sitting on the nest!!



My last sighting of all 13 ducklings together!!



The swans showing who is boss on the pond!!



Everybody soon gets out of the way!!



The female stretching her wings








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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Doogs on Tue May 20, 2014 1:54 pm

 Another big catch up required by me on this thread Embarassed Embarassed

Pictures look fab  cheers 
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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  whitestarling on Tue May 20, 2014 11:15 pm

Shame about the Moorhen chicks, but as you say the parents can only cope with so many, having to feed them, so it's natural that weakest will go first. It's strange how some species young feed straight away, and some have to be fed, you would have thought with evolution they would have adapted. I think the Ducklings have made the right decision leaving the pond, as the Swans are protecting their food source for their own soon to be young hopefully. Fingers X they are now big enough to survive on the River, and will one day return to the pond. Great shots of the female Swan doing her morning stretches, they are beautiful, powerful looking creatures
Thanks for the update Safariman

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  littlewid on Thu May 22, 2014 9:07 pm

That is sad news about the Moorhen chick Safariman but then nature and life can be cruel but then again, the strongest do have to survive, just a shame thy cant all survive. Lets hope all the rest do well and that it's not too much of a strain on mum and dad.
It's also a shame the ducks and ducklings have left the pond but as WS say's probably a good idea and from those lovely photo's they do seem rather big now so hopefully they are all doing well. At least the last time you saw them they till had 13 ducklings which is just fantastic news and fingers crossed you get to see them gain.
I can only imagine how incredible it has been to actually watch the changing dynamics of the pond over the recent weeks and your updates for us have been fantastic and we still have more to come with the hatching of the swans cygnets  Very Happy 
The photo's of the female swan are just fabulous, she really is an impressive swan isn't she and she really does look like she is doing her exercises, they are brilliant photo's, you really have captured her wings amazingly.
Thanks for the update and the wonderful photo's Safariman........look forward to the next update of your lovely pond.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Safariman on Wed May 28, 2014 3:36 pm

A very quick update on life on the pond.
This morning as I opened my front garden gate I was greeted by 13 ducklings!! They are almost grown up now but still hang around all together although there is no sign of mum. I think she must have become fed up with looking after 13 teenagers.
The 5 moorhen chicks are doing well and growing quickly and the swans are still incubating on the nest. My neighbour reliably informs me that there are 6 eggs and it cannot be long now until they hatch.
The weather has been awful with constant rain for the last 3 days so I haven't been able to get any up to date photos.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Laikipia on Thu May 29, 2014 8:03 am

That's wonderful news about the 13 ducklings Safariman. what a relief and what an amazing Mrs D she must have been to keep them all safe.

This weather is just awful and I feel so sorry for all our wildlife.

Let's hope the 5 Moorhen chicks stay safe as well.

 Thanks  for updating us.

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Safariman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:35 am

As the weather has improved a bit I managed to get some photos of the inhabitants of the pond and its surround.
The swans are still incubating but starting to get very restless, so hatching could well be imminent. They are still very antagonistic to anything that they perceive to be in their space. Even the adult male mallards receive the occasional peck on their backsides!!!
The 13 ducklings are now over 7 weeks old and still all together but no sign of mum.
The moorhen chicks are 3 weeks old and growing quickly and they and their parents are very adept at avoiding the swans. They are even managing to look more like chicks!!
As the ducklings are now totally habituated to people I took the opportunity to try taking some photos of them at ground level with some interesting results. As you can see from the photos, the daisies have grown back!!



A pond group photo, with male swan, male mallard ducks, ducklings, moorhen and moorhen chicks.



The 13 ducklings waiting outside my garden gate!!



The male swan taking his morning bath!!



Making a big splash!!





Morning exorcises with Mrs. S in the background







At eye level with the ducklings











The 5 moorhen chicks with mum and dad



I want more!!!


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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Laikipia on Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:07 pm

http://i73.servimg.c  Safariman.  A great selection and I love the balletic swan photos, they really made me smile.  It's always fun to do ground level shots if possible and gives a great new perspective on wildlife.  You're very lucky all your pond inhabitants are so used to people so don't run or fly away  What a Face   

Thanks for updating us and sharing more wonderful photos.

Lai

ps if you get the opportunity when you're back at Offbeat in September, eles from ground level are amazing (if it's safe  affraid )  Elephant behind 

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  whitestarling on Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:41 pm

Fantastic that the 13 Ducklings have survived so far, and now seem to have a good chance of making it. Love those ground leve shots, I must try that sometime, as long as there's somebody to help me up after   Superb photos of the Swan doing his morning ablutions, and exercises really like the way it shows the water spraying off it.
Thanks for the photos, and news Safariman

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Safariman on Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:29 am

Thanks Lai and WS.
Not so sure about the ground level pics while on safari Lai. I know some wildlife photographers lie flat under their vehicle to get some great elephant shots but with predators everywhere in the Mara I think I would rather stay in the vehicle and as WS said at our age we can just about get down but getting back up quickly could well prove a problem!! It is always frustrating in a vehicle when you know a low level shot would be perfect. It is only when you stand next to the vehicle that you realise how high they are and it always makes the animals appear a lot smaller than they actually are. One of the things I like about cheetahs is you often find them on top of termite mounds which means you can sometimes get photos at eye level. And it is always fun trying to find the best position to try and get that "perfect" photo!!

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  Laikipia on Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:23 pm

I agree Safariman, and rest assured I have only ever been flat on the ground when it was considered safe!  It was with Jackson whilst we were watching eles as the sun was going down and they looked so beautiful so we lay about 20 yards from the vehicle and took some fun photos, we were out on the savannah with no bushes or trees so no ambush from a leopard or lions possible  affraid 

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Re: New Arrivals!! 2014

Post  littlewid on Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:10 pm

WOW  Those are fantastic photo's Safariman. The ones of the swans are beautiful, they really are magnificently beautiful birds aren't they and your pictures always show them off so well. I love the eyeball shots of the ducklings, just fantastic, that was a great idea and how brilliant that there are still 13 of them, mum really did well didn't she. As they are only 7 weeks old I would have thought she may still be around but maybe it's normal for her to leave them at that age.
The little Moorhen chicks are looking more like cute chicks now aren't they and the picture of "I want More" is just brilliant, such a wonderful shot. I also really like the group photo's and i'm still envious of you having them at your garden gate, it must be so lovely to get up and see them all there.
I wonder when the swans eggs will hatch, it must be soon.......hopefully  Very Happy 

Thanks for the update and the wonderful pictures and look forward to the next instalment  bounce 

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