Ugly Duckling

Holly was at one of her things. Kids seem to have very busy lives, groups for this and that, parties here and there and consequently lots of hour-long waits which are never long enough to do something or even go home and have a cuppa, it’s parent taxi limbo world. A netherworld filled with disgruntled mothers and fathers, many of whom can’t park their cars properly or smile at their children let alone other people.
We decided to go for a wander rather than endlessly orbit the dashboard clock and ended up on the canal towpath where it was getting dim but the more golden of trees still managed to glow a little. On the way back a family of swans sailed towards us which was as much a photie moment as you could want in the circumstances. I crouched down, pointed and waited as they silently drifted towards me.
Then as a unit, a military unit, a militant military unit ready for a coup attempt, they all turned on me, hissing and beating the water with their webbed claws. Yes, claws.
I reversed while still crouched as Joycee went Ooooohhhhh Peteseeee and then skipped away slipping the camera back into my pocket.
I dunno if was my purple baseball boots or what, but it was definitely uncalled for. I’ll be ready for them next time, a swan can break your arm you know.

10 thoughts on “Ugly Duckling”

  1. I’ve been watching those swans for a couple of years on my canal runs. This is the second year they’ve raised a healthy brood of five youngsters who are now beginning to turn white now they’re nearly fully grown.
    Their nest is on the other side of the river and easily accessible and I’m always amazed that the youngsters survive given some of the people who hang around there. Now I know why :-)
    Strangely enough they sometimes hang around on the tow path and never seem to be bothered when I run past them. So it must be something to do with the camera and pointing things at them

  2. The swans do seem to do okay, I’ve seen nests on the towpath side in the past, so they must be reasonably happy.

    I was quite still and wasn’t moving towards them, but I was also making “swan noises” to attract them, I imagine they thought “Why is this nutjob with the camera strangling a chicken?” I can’t do swan noises you see.

  3. Well they’re mute swans so they don’t actually have any swan noises (unless alarmed of course).
    In the Spring the adults were doing their courtship ‘dance’ with intertwining neck on a still canal with reflections, It would have made a great photo if I’d had my camera with me.
    I’ve also seen waterails, little grebes, waxwings in winter and either an otter or a mink (not sure) along that canal, It’s quite a wildlife haven.

  4. Mute swans? I’d better not touch them, they’re the queen’s… :o)

    I think we saw a greeb tonight as well, a wee black bird that got frightened by the swan incident and skittered across the surface of the water to the far bank.

    I’m going to say otter for your animal encounter, I’ve seen what I’m 99% sure is an otter in the overgrown bit between Bowling and OK. I thought it was an odd looking dog at first until it fired past the front wheel of my bike like a rocket into the water.

    When I lived in a boat down there years ago the most we got to see was an unusual oil drum on the beach at the same spot, its great to see life returning. I hope they don’t blow it with thoughtless redevelopment.

  5. We got the merest glimpse of an otter today, but that was in a bay on Ardnamurchan. That was in addition to three golden eagle sightings (at least two different ones), one sea eagle, and more rutting deer than you could fit in a tardis – a grand day out on a walk that never rose above 100m!

    Add that to the seal on our first day, something that might have been a hen harrier, a sparrowhawk, the red squirrels at our cabin and the pine marten that eats on our porch, and even though we’re rank amateurs at spotting stuff, it’s amazing what wildlife is adding to our trip.

    If the weather’s as pish as promised tomorrow I think we may head for the hide on Loch Sunart and try to get a better otter sighting.

  6. Matt, that sounds like fun, you’re in a fantastic spot there. I’ve been packing those full sized binoculars for just that kind of thing.

    Looks crap tomorrow right enough, but Friday’s looking better.

    Just been reminded by Joycee that we saw two red squirrels by Loch Tay on Saturday. Cute wee buggers.

  7. The wee black bird was probably a moorhen. There’s a few of them along there along with the odd coot.
    Interesting that there may be resident otter(s).
    I’ll keep my eye out for them especially when the darker mornings come in.

  8. Joycee was at one her environmental meeting things and she said they reckon otters do live around the canal as well.
    I think that’s brilliant.
    I did just for a second wonder if Holly had somehow smuggled one out of Lomond Shores and set it free though.

  9. The Rutting Stags down in the Corrie/Glen between Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin were goin at it so loudly I really was beggining to wonder if it was stags or far off distant trail bikes I was hearing!

    Ive recently spotted a Badger twice in the evenings while taking Nellie dug for her walk around Chatelherault along with loads of Bats and Owls.

    Wildlife is braw!

  10. Aye, it really adds something to a trip. It show the mountains aren’t just for us too. Folk should camp more and see this stuff.

    Me included.

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