Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Thursday, 7 May 2009

A mission

A shorter working day today, so a much needed chance to get out. It felt good to have the camera in my hand again, as I wandered around the local. Dark skies, strong winds; but it didn’t matter one bit. I was out.

And so were the Swifts. Hundreds of them, and no exaggeration. They filled the sky with their aerobatics and screams. Swooping low across the lake, twisting and turning, and still more circling above, some barely visible to the naked eye. I’ve never seen so many in one place. I stood captivated by their noisy antics, tried to take some pictures, and then gave up.
I can see why they are called Swifts. Like bullets flying through the air. Everywhere I went, they were there. Further round the lake, they were joined by House Martins, and the odd Swallow joining the display. Amazing spectacle.

But I had a mission, so reluctantly I moved on. My nesting Swans were first on the list, and I wanted to check on them.
And there she was, still sitting on the nest, but no sign of her mate.

I figured he must be feeding somewhere, so I quietly left her to get on with her job, and headed off to the next nesting mother.

The Great Crested Grebe; and still sitting tight on the nest.

All’s well so far, so onward a bit further.
Above the Swifts were still hunting the skies, and below, a carpet of daises, with a group of Germander Speedwell amongst them.

Just ahead a pair of Swans were cruising the lake, with four Cygnets. The first I’ve seen this year, so I just had to take some pictures.

They just ooze cuteness.

The sky was getting darker, the wind seemed stronger, and the screeching Swifts were still filling the sky, so I started walking back. With all that activity in the air, it amazes me how they don’t crash into each other.
Along the edge of the lake, a Coot sat motionless on her nest.
An intricate structure bonded to a small tree, growing from the lakeside. What a feat of construction, by such small creatures.

I passed a Mallard mother, taking her young family for a swim, with one young chick looking very different from its brothers and sisters.

I wondered how that little one would turn out.

Almost at my last place to check on, and growing amongst the grass, the first offerings from some Common Vetch.

I passed the Coots nest, which had previously been home to 9 chicks, and the last time I’d looked they were down to 7. I wondered how many had survived to today.

I walked on to where they were a few days ago, but no sign of them. I scanned the edge of the lake, and then spotted them. The parents had taken them to the shelter of a curve in the lake. Seven still. The wind had whipped the surface of the water into small waves, and they were bobbing about, whilst the parents were feeding them.

Food seemed like a good idea to me too, so I eventually took a slow walk back to the car.
Mission accomplished.


  1. The Cygnets are very cute - especially the #6 - and of course the nesting grebe. Nice series.

  2. Fantastic crisp Images, love it lots.

  3. Well you definitely captured the cute element on this outing. Well done.

  4. Beautifully written. A great read. You painted those swifts for me without a photo. That coot is a marvellous engineer.

  5. Keith I'm in a tearing hurry and will come back and have a proper look at your post tomorrow but thought I should say I left a comment regarding your Common Sandpiper photos on Andrew's site http://quicksilverbirds.blogspot.com/ you may want to take a look.

  6. All these cute babies are making me tear up! I love them!! I wondered if that yellow chick w/ the mallard family was adopted perhaps???
    Beautiful photos - the baby cygnets were my favorite.

  7. Andor.....Thank you. Cygnets just make you want to take their picture I think. They're like little fluffy balls at that age.

    JRandSue.....Thank you for commenting. Appreciate it.

    Frank.....Cheers. Cuteness was all around. A great way to unwind a little.

    Rob.....Glad you enjoyed the prose; they were just so fast to capture on camera. lol

    ShySongbird......Thanks for 'flying' in; I'll check it out after work.

    Shellmo.....That little chick certainly stood out. I'll have to keep an eye on him, see how he progresses. Thanks.

  8. ...there is a "whole lotta cute going on" in this post! Love the mama swan on her nest, head tucked under her wing... and again, there is something about seeing the Grebe through the reeds. Very pretty. The faces on the cygnets are so sweet, calm and innocent. You're right...they ooze!

  9. wow ... you're photos are absolutely beautiful. thanks for sharing a peek.

  10. Great walk again Keith; glad to hear all your "charges" are doing as they should. Hope the black swan's not too far away.

  11. Great photos of the cygnets.
    Love the GCG through the reeds - puts it in context nicely.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading it all.

  12. What wonderful photos! (And of course we know how the different chick will turn out!)

  13. Precious moments for sure!...That large yellow chick seems like he not one of the family, how interesting! I used to bird with a fellow who called Swifts Flying Cigars, I too tired to photograph them but got nothing. Great Photos my friend!..thank you for taking the time and making sharing the effort.

  14. No pictures needed as your words took me there. Love the little ones.

  15. A great read Keith. I love those Cygnets mate :-)

  16. Kelly………Thank you. Not too much cute I hope ;)
    Got more this afternoon, but not had time to sort them properly yet.

    Stephen……Thanks for stopping by, and the kind words. Appreciated.

    Tricia……Glad you enjoyed the walk. Didn’t get time to check on the Black Swan today, but heard some good news.

    John……Thank you. Appreciate your comment. I like to include some of the environment when I can; not always easy though. :)

    The Birdlady…..Thank you for stopping by, and your comment.

    Dixxie……Thanks. The yellow chick seemed a bit bigger than the rest, maybe he’s been adopted. I’ll have to keep watch on him.

    Andrea……Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the words.

    Nick……Thanks. I’m going to enjoy following those Cygnets progress.

  17. I really enjoyed my 'virtual' walk with you Keith, really delightful and beautiful photos again. Like someone else said, I could see the Swifts without a photo.
    I was only thinking this morning how marvellous nest building is and all completely instinctive, no apprenticeships for birds!

  18. Thank you ShySongbird, glad you enjoyed the walk.
    It's amazing how birds learn, and know, all that is required of them, in their short lives.