Commencing in the spring of 2010 I began to photograph the development of a family of swans who live on Connaught Water in Epping Forest. What started out as an add-hoc collection of photographs turned into a project that documented the swans and the other wild birds on a weekly basis and continued through the winter.
The project continued through 2011 and beyond.
I am hoping that this blog will attract contributions from other regular visitors to Connaught Water.
To see the photographs from last year click on the Swan Summer 2010 link above.
The best day of the year - first sight of this year’s cygnets.
Nine additions to family.
Swan Summer 2013 is launched.
Our Coote chicks out in the water.
This weeks new arrivals.
Swan Summer now with added lake.
I’ve decided for 2013 to expand the coverage of this set of photos to include occasional material captured at other lakes in the forest and the Roding valley. There will be no less emphasis on our family and their neighbours but added value from further afield.
To start this off a cormorant and grebe fishing on Roding Valley Lake
We’re off and running for a new year.
First births of the season. This makes the cold hands and wet feet throughout the winter worth while (although it wasn’t too warm today either)
The breeding season is well under way now, Cootes building or sitting on nests, the tufted ducks that have spent the last few weeks hanging around in a flock have all paired off, most of the geese aren’t to be seen. Mummy swan has retired for her month long vigil and because of the lack of leaves on the trees we can for once see the nest site.
In other news a welcome return for the grebes.
Mixed emotions today in the cold and sleet. No sign of a single cygnet and although they could have concealed themselves very well almost certainly they have left us to start their lives as adults. The other side of the coin is that there was definite signs of nest building; one of the feats of engineering that is a Coote nest is rising from the water.
So as the light today worked against any decent pictures and in tribute to the cygnets that nearly never where because of the floods of last spring, one picture from each month that they were with us.
Cold. When is it spring?
Signs of spring today with Mandarins plumping up their plumage for display, ducks pairing off and sighting of Northern Pintails which are likely returning migrants.
No sighting of the Hooded Merganser today but I have had her confirmed by the BTO and the RSPB.
Exciting news today. The unknown visitor that I mentioned some months ago and have been unable to identify since was today sporting a distinct crest which has helped me to a tentative identification. I have requested confirmation from the RSPB and the BTO but I am willing to stick my neck out and say that I think it is a Hooded Merganser.
This bird is a native of the USA but is held in captivity in Europe so this female is likely to be an escapee.
Despite the poor conditions today I also managed to grab some shots of the cygnets. From the look of them I suspect that we may not have them around for too much longer now, so I’m grabbing the chance while I still can.
Sunshine today but a few problems with thin ice. The lake teeming with life and lots if activity both on the water and off.