Clear skies and swans

It’s Easter weekend here in the UK – and anywhere else that follows the Christian calendar – which generally means that the garden centres are full of customers and the shops are full of chocolate eggs (although it is Saturday so I suspect that the stocks will be depleted now as it’s Easter Sunday tomorrow!) – you might be forgiven for forgetting that it’s a religious festival!

I’ve been in the garden myself – and to buy more compost as I’ve been working in the veg garden – but today I wanted to show you some photos that I took a week or so ago before the school holidays.  My dog walking routine always changes over the holidays and these were taken on one of the last walks before the schools finished.

I love the Nine Arches walk in the early morning, and especially on sunny days when the sun is low behind the arches.

This was a frosty morning, it came right out of nowhere as the temperatures had been higher during the week.  Oh, but frosty mornings bring that nip to the air, a freshness that makes your cheeks glow and skies that are so blue you could swim in them …

I couldn’t resist stopping to admire the frost on these leaves – they looked so lovely and we’ve been a bit short of heavy frost this Winter so I haven’t been able to indulge in seeing leaves edged in white quite as much as I would have liked to.

The dog and I chose a different path on this particular day and found ourselves following the canal for longer than we might sometimes do.  Up ahead of us, I could see something white on the the bank and guessing that it was a swan, put the dog on his lead so that he wasn’t tempted to encourage it into the water.  He does seem to like “encouraging” the ducks to swim!

This swan wasn’t in the least bit bothered about us passing by him (her?) and even posed for a photo with wings held high.  This is a mute swan, there are a few of them on this canal and I’ve written about them before.  They have this characteristic of a large bump at the top of their beaks and lifting their wings.  It does make them look very elegant!

Isn’t he (she) beautiful?  I didn’t get too close, this is the zoom on my camera which let me get in closer than I would have tried to with the dog held firmly in one hand.

I did wonder why this swan was alone when usually they are in pairs, but just a bit further along the path I saw the reason why.

I could assume that this is Mrs Swan on the nest but I think both Mr and Mrs take it in turns to sit on the eggs so I shouldn’t guess.  Someone else might be able to tell me if there’s an easy way to tell swans apart!  She (he) does look a bit like a large white blob on this photo, but clearly she (he) was on high alert because as we passed, she (he) was very much wide awake and keeping a close eye on how close we were getting.  Not close, I can assure you – aside from anything else, you can see that the nest has been built just out of easy walking reach – that’s not flooded ground you can see in the foreground but part of the canal itself so I think you’d find yourself very wet if you tried to get to the nest!

I do like how it’s built up like that.  It reminds me of a motte and bailey castle although this would just be the motte bit with the swan up high to deter predators.  It’s built of vegetation – I couldn’t get close enough to see but it looks like the dried out stalks of last year’s Himalayan balsam which is a nuisance to most people but obviously the nest-building plant of choice for the swans!  It’s also really big!  It spreads out to easily a metre or more – I found this post on swans’ nests and it’s really interesting to see how they’re built.

I know that the swans are used to people being around, but I felt very special that we had been able to get up so close to them.  The dog stayed on his lead until we were well past both the swans and then I was able to let him off again.  He was very pleased to see that several ducks had lined themselves up on the bank, ready to swoosh into the water as he bounded up to them.  I think it makes his day!


I feel like I’m still playing catch up with my blog a little so I hope you don’t mind as I do that 🙂

I hope you have a lovely Easter weekend if you celebrate, and I’ll see you soon!



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33 Responses

  1. Lindsay says:

    I too love seeing frosty edged leaves, and the seed heads of cow parsley and hogweed outlined in hoar frost.
    It’s a lovely sunny day here, on our early walk dear dog and I stopped to watch the newborn lambs suckling from their mothers and others skipping around in the sunshine.
    Makes all the difference having blue skies and some warmth 😎

  2. Georgina says:

    For me, the weekend has been about WEEEEEEEDING!!! There’s something very satisfying about pulling out dandelions by the root!

  3. Sandi says:

    Beautiful pictures!! I love the swans, their so elegant! Happy Easter to you and your family. Hugs,

  4. Irune says:

    Beautiful swans!!! I’m sure you both really enjoyed the walk.
    Happy Easter!!

  5. Lin says:

    Beautiful pictures of the swans and what a privilege. Lovely frost picture too. Happy Easter. xx

  6. Paula m Middleton says:

    I .ove seeing where your walks take you.

  7. Susan Rayner says:

    Happy easter to you too! Gorgeous photos of the swans and the frost – we seem to have moved on from heavy frosts everyday last week to much warmer mornings very suddenly! Winter jumpers, coats and boots being put to the back of the wardrobe for now!
    Enjoy the holidays.

  8. Betsy Grizzard says:

    We have swans in Lake Morton by our church, gifted to Lakeland FL by Queen Elizabeth in 1957. The flock has increased and they are always a pleasure to see. We have learned, however, they are territorial so don’t get too close to their signets! Have a blessed Easter, Passover and Ramadan to all!

    • winwickmum says:

      Ooh no, you don’t want to approach a swan with cygnets! All the mute swans in the UK are owned by the Queen so I suspect that’s the variety you have if she gifted them to you. How lovely! They are very beautiful to look at 🙂 xx

  9. Janet says:

    How fun to see your beautiful swans. I’m in Northern California and we have trundra swans here, as well as snow geese. Now that our weather is warming up, the birds are leaving, but the abundance of budding flowers is definitely making up for it!

    • winwickmum says:

      I’ve just had to look up a tundra swan but it’s very similar to look at it, isn’t it? I guess it will be getting a bit warm for it where you! 🙂 xx

  10. Pam Wilkin says:

    love the photo’s

  11. Pam McClure says:

    Lovely photos. The swans are so elegant. What a pretty walking track you take. I am enjoying Easter at Port Julia, South Australia, with our caravan club. We are 1640kms from home in New South Wales.

  12. Lorna White says:

    The swans are so beautiful and elegant, it was lovely to see them so close up with your zoom. Thank you for sharing and l hope you and your family have a relaxing Easter holiday xx

  13. Shirley Ann says:

    I’ve never seen a swans nest. How wonderful that you have one so close by!
    Happy Easter!

    • winwickmum says:

      You’ve reminded me that it’s not an everyday occurrence to see them them, thank you – yes, I am lucky to be able to walk past them! Happy Easter to you too! 🙂 xx

  14. Margaret says:

    Lovely photos again but take care when you see a swan with its wings lifted – it’s called busking and it signals that the swan (probably a male) is getting ready to defend his territory and could attack! They do look so beautiful and graceful though. Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

    • winwickmum says:

      That would make sense as we were pretty close – there was probably less than a metre between us! I wouldn’t have gone any closer (hooray for zoom lenses!) as I didn’t want to upset him, but I’ll know to look out for that in the future xx

  15. Eleanor Roome (El) says:

    What a lovely bunch of photos you always give us of your walks and the animals you see as well as the house ones and I have to say you have such patience with those kittens running up your curtains!! I just so enjoy reading all your escapades. Happy Easter to the queen of the sock!

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m so glad you like the photos! Those kittens are reaching the end of my patience limit with the curtains, especially as they’re getting bigger and I have no desire to see them bring the curtain pole down .. 🙂 xx

  16. Bernadette says:

    So those little pickle kittens are still being pickles!
    So beautiful to see the swans and soon to come there will be cygnets hopefully.
    Thanks as always for your blogs. 😊 xx

  17. Jet says:

    I think swans are really impressive birds.
    You can tell male and female apart by the size of the bump on the base of their beak: the male’s got a bigger bump.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, is that how you do it? I didn’t want to get that close! I’ve been back to look at my photos and I think it may have been Mr Swan on the bank as I guessed – I’ll take more notice next time (from a safe distance) – thank you! 🙂 xx

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