Saturday, 28 February 2015

Busking Mute swans

In a visit to a local fishing lake, we find the swan family, the pair and a young from last year. The male kept his wings arched high over his body, staying between the shore, where several dogs were running around, and the other two swans. This behaviour is a mild form of threat display called busking (yes, another type of street performance if you like). Swans not only use it to deter potential predators, but also as a threat against intruding swans, before lunging or chasing them out of their territory. In its highest intensity, the display involves the swan arching its neck, and keeping its head low under his wings, while they lunge forward to the intruder swimming fast, propelling themselves with both feet at the same time. It is a most impressive sight.
Male swan busking a juvenile, note the front wave he is creating! (North Cave wetlands, 3/3/14).
The young one has a pink, instead of orange bill, and will probably stay around until the pair start nesting in the spring.
Today, at some point the dogs got too close to the shore and the female approached...
...also displayed. 
The male, or cob, swan.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Four calling pigeons

I had this little project in my mind for a long time, to get photos of all four local pigeon species as they call. What I had not anticipated was that I would do in in a single day in the space of 15 minutes, all in a very small area. All pigeons are now in full blown song and courtship. When I spotted the Woodpigeon above, he wasn't calling, it appeared to be just enjoying the sun, but as I walked away, I heard it calling and I turned back. The noise of the roadworks didn't stop it calling.
It is unusual to see a Collared Dove calling in the park.
Not much further away, a Stock Dove started calling. This ash is their favourite tree, and most of the time there are two or three there. Stock doves are quite timid, and they call from high vantage points.
To end the series, it wasn't too hard to find the courting Feral Pigeons, there were plenty around. This male and watchful female were on the roof of the cafe at Pearson Park.