As summer shines and the nation works its heavy hearted way through the ten Biblical afflictions it was good to escape. With my lovely brother Nick staying and the Wetlands close by it was time to make a visit.
We watched moorhens and coots busy themselves in the reeds, polchards and other ducks diving and snoozing, herons standing guard, seagulls swarming, lapwings circling and even handsome beef cattle keeping the grass low. But the pride of the place went to the swan(pen) and her cygnets. Less than a week old ,the six furry chicks ducked and dived, formed dutiful lines and stayed very close to Mum. Nearby dad(cob) was watching and would eventually stir and join his family for a little glide.(see link)
They do mate for life. The eggs usually six or seven are laid in April/May and take 40 days to incubate. So we were watching a full house. Despite the swans famed aggressive dance(busking) they are pretty powerless against predators, the breaking of arms is myth-their wings are too weak. Another reason why swans do not over populate is that in any given season only ten per cent mate.
The adult swans stand guard over their young for six to nine months and then shoe them away. Not for them the problems of scarce and expensive accommodation. Ducks in comparison stay with their young only a month. Swans mate at two and live for 10/20 years.
But at the Wetlands that hot day there were other young on show. A group of disabled Orthodox Jewish children and theirnot-so fancy dressed minders had come to visit. Were they the product of normal genetic distribution, too much inter marriage, God’s peculiar way of testing his ultra chosen people? There seemed a terrible irony that this tribe which so slavishly obeys the most hysterical rules of observance should be cursed.
Whatever,Nick and I were soon on our push bikes on our way for a handsome lunch at the Bulls Head by the river at Barnes. I noticed that England were being thrashed by Pakistan in the cricket. The ten Biblical penalties continue. https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=p157yhce&id=F1055FBBAE3641F68D98D01FCF8BEEE8FF6E3888&thid=OIP.p157yhce2qFB0QfZeNVO_QEsDY&q=swans+and+their+cygnets&simid=608028703336300967&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0