Aerial view of the riverThe Ditton Corner plot from the airFen Ditton - an aerial view

Home Up



Swan Diary

by Alice Coburn

Nine into Seven Won't Go

Seven eggs - count 'em - in the Swans nest in March.  Could there be any more hiding there somewhere?  Swan with nine - count 'em - cygnets in May

The swans have hatched! But the strange thing is, we counted the eggs when they were laid and there were seven of them.  Now there are NINE cygnets.  This is a mystery.  Could two of the eggs have had two chicks inside?  We think that double-yolk chickens eggs do not hatch so this seems strange.  Could the mother have laid two more eggs?  Or when we counted them, could another two eggs have been hidden in the nest?  Or has the family adopted two more chicks from some other swans nesting somewhere else on the river?  One thing is for sure.  All the chicks look the same...

14 March 2002

We have swans nesting in the inlet from the river at the side of the field next to our garden.  We went back to the nest they had last year to see if they were nesting again and yes they are!  The swans have built their nest and are sitting on the eggs.


Five Swans a-swimming

Christmas 2001

The three baby swans are preparing to leave for the winter. They are huge and practically as big as their parents now but they are still slightly brown with some of their baby feathers still showing.  We have seen them practising their flying up and down the river, following their parents by running along the water.  They do look funny trying hard to take off.  We hope they will come back when they finally depart.

Adult swan with two grown up cygnets

The youngsters

Only four cygnets left but they are huge

17 June 2001

The cygnets are getting big.  I think they are now three quarters of the size of an adult, so they are teenagers.  There are now only four cygnets left.  I wonder what happened to the others.  Maybe they were taken by a fox or a cat or got ill.  They have little black beaks which will turn orange when they are older.

.The cygnets are nearly as big as their mum

Mum and the teenagers

Why do people think I'm ugly?

The Ugly Duckling

Amazing way to travel

11 May 2001

The new cygnets have an amazing way to travel.  They sit on their Mummy's back between her wings.  When we saw them today all eight of them were hiding on her back.   When she brought them to our river bank they all jumped off to feed on our bread.   They looked so funny jumping into the water.

Hitching a ride on Mum

Hitching a ride on Mum


The Swans have hatched!

5 May 2001

They have arrived!  We counted eight cygnets!  They are so cute I wish I could touch one!  It was amazing that they arrived on Mummy's birthday. When I first saw them they were riding on their mothers back and occasionally jumping off. 

Cygnets detail four 160.jpg (6722 bytes)

the cuties make strange cheeping noises

The parents take them home each night to the quiet waterway off the river under the trees.  Henry and I took them some bread but it was difficult to get close to where they had hidden for the night.  I think that is their idea, to keep the cygnets safe from predators.

The swan cygnets come for their bread at Ditton Corner

The swan cygnets come for their bread at Ditton Corner


Male Swan Attack

Saturday 28th April 2001

The male swan is very territorial.  He chases boats with small crews.  We saw him jump on the front of one boat and flap his wings - that must have been very scary for the rower.  I think it must be scary to be attacked by a swan if you are rowing on the river.  I don't know why he does it - perhaps he thinks the boats will attack his nest.  Or perhaps he has learned that humans will give him food because at the pub everyone throws him food.

Let's get out of here - there's an angry swan coming!

Let's get out of here - there's an angry swan coming!


Mummy Swan Feeding

Sunday 1st April 2001

The mother swan was off her nest today.  She was hungry and came to us on the bank, so we fed her some bread.  Later she was bathing in the river.  She fluffed up her feathers and dipped her head in the water.

Mrs. Swan admires her reflection

Mrs. Swan admires her reflection


The Swans' Nest

Thursday 29th March 2001

The swans have got eggs!  We went down to see if they had and they did!   There are at least five eggs but I suspect that there are more.  I can't wait until the eggs hatch then we will know how many there are.

Swan on her nest

Swan on her nest

Swan nest close up with eggs

And in the nest we can see some eggs - but how many?


The Swans' Nest

Sunday 25th March 2001

The swans are nesting. After watching them raise a family last year, we saw the pair of swans had returned to this stretch of the river again.  Their old nest site was affected by this winter's flooding, so although they visited it, we could see that it was still underwater.  Then finally we found where they were nesting.  It was at the edge of the field next door, in the stream but further upstream from their old nest site.  

Alice watching swan on nest

Mrs. Swan sits on her nest.