Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's all about cuteness tonight...

After dinner, I thought I'd check on the Mute Swan couple to see if their babies had hatched. When I arrived at the small pond, I was disappointed to see an empty nest with two very large eggs on it. Something must have gone wrong because the couple was no where in sight. Then I looked up again and mama and papa slid gracefully from around the bend...and five little cygnets followed behind!




They were about 25 feet from the shore, so I went to the water's edge and sat very still hoping they would swim over to their nest. After almost 15 minutes, they started working their way over, and mama led them right into the little cove where their nest was hidden! The water was shallow and thick with algae, and she started rocking back and forth using her feet to churn up the algae and mud. The babies were rocked around a bit in the turbulence, but they seemed to be having fun and were getting very dirty in the process. It was exciting to watch. It looked like they were taking a great big mud bath, but my guess is mama was helping bring algae to the surface to make it easier for the babies to eat.


Click to enlarge for a better view of the messy little cygnet (you could almost 
put a little bowl on this one's head and pretend the algae was spaghetti).




After another five minutes or so, they slid back out to the open water, stopping to take little baths along the way to wash the mud and algae from their down and feathers.




40 comments:

Greener Bangalore said...

Oh thats so beautiful and cutee lil swans....this is where we see god

Kallen305 said...

This is the official awwww post of the week! So cute!! I love all of the pictures but the one with the two adults shaping their heads as a heart w/ the baby in the middle is my favorite. Awesome picture!

Wren said...

I don't think I've ever seen baby swans look sweeter. It was lovely light you had too. Beautiful post!

Kelly said...

Greener, Kim and Wren....thank you. The evening light was nice to photograph in.

Shellmo said...

They are super cute - so glad you were able to get these close up shots of these babies!! Awwww!!!

mick said...

Definitely cute - and so very interesting that you could see and photograph the mother bird helping them to feed. Great photos.

ShySongbird said...

Absolutely delightful Kelly, and the mucky cygnets look so comical. Really beautiful photos.

Vickie said...

That is awesome, Kelly. What an intimate visit with their family.
The images are beautiful. Sometimes I think the effort makes us value the moment even more.

HBFG said...

Kelly! Fan...tas...tic Pictures! They are so beautiful, so shining, like their parents. Wonderful sight, wonderful shots! Grattis! (means congratulations in swedish)!
Michaela

Ginnymo said...

OMG!!! These photos are sooooooooo cute Kelly!! Don't you just want to touch them?? Ha! They are so fuzzy!! I'm loving all these baby pictures you all are starting to post.

Roy said...

A great photo essay, Kelly! Heh, heh! Yeah, sometimes you have to get wet, dirty, muddy, etc. to get the good shots. All those flower macros I took Saturday morning? It had rained Friday and then we had fog overnight, so you can imagine the state of the ground in the morning. And I was down on knees and elbows or belly and elbows to get all those close-ups of tiny, ground-hugging flowers. Oh well...

We have a great amny Mute Swans around here, but I have yet to see any nests or cygnets. Hmmm... Sounds like some exploration is on the agenda!

Richard said...

Definitely some pictures for the "Perfect Picture" file.

Laure Ferlita said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking me (us) with you to see something so wonderful (and comical)! And I think you win the award for the cutest, happiest, funniest post all in one shot! What a treat!

Uncommon Depth said...

Awww! What a terrific series of images. I especially love the one with the parents framing the cygnet. Beautiful!

Montanagirl said...

Fantastic photos! They are just toooo cute. You did a great job, and that will be an unforgettable experience.

BirdingMaine said...

Beautiful and adorable photos Kelly! Excellent work!

holdingmoments said...

Superb post Kelly, and such beautiful pictures too.
The mud will wash off, but that memory will last forever.

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

Awww! they're so cute even when covered with algae!

animtreebird said...

Very beautiful birds. Nice photos of them. :)))

Phil and Mandy said...

I just love those photos Kelly. Sweeeeet. Phil

dAwN said...

OMGoodness Kelly,
These are beyond cuteness...I love all the photos..and the algae laden chicks ..adorable! Worth every bit of mud and gunk!

JRandSue said...

Hi Kelly.
Fantastic cute Images, love your shots the Cygnets look beautiful.
Well Done.
Kind Regards
John.

The Early Birder said...

Well. I've known mucky kids but these take the biscuit. Great post Kelly plus the 'cute, cute' is definitely top drawer. Lol FAB

Chris Petrak said...

Can't quibble with the great photos or the cuteness, BUT Mute Swans are exotics and invasives. The only good thing I've heard about them is that they may help control Canada Goose breeding. Otherwise, they are probably displacing native species. So I am very conflicted about seeing swans, which did not stop me from photographing them last week. I hope I not required to be consistent.

Nature As Is said...

Oh Kelly fantastic shots.....typical though isn't it that children just can't stay clean for even a moment ;) Love the shots.

Crista

Neil said...

Great post. I was lucky enough to see the same feeding of Black Swans with young the other week great to watch.

Alan said...

Great photos Kelly. SOOO CUTE!!! This post definitely steals the show today!! The second photo is awesome!!

Kelly said...

...wow! Thanks everyone for your very kind remarks. It's amazing what a cute little cygnet can do for your heart. But as Chris mentions, yes...Mute Swans are an introduced, non-native species of swan, but they are beautiful none-the-less, and I always fall prey to their charms. In Cincinnati and the suburbs, swans are relatively new, and it's only in the past couple of years we've had nesting pairs on our ponds out in Mason.

wildlife said...

I'd love to see a couple of cygnets with algae spaghetti on their heads.

It sounds like you had a great time in the mud getting these wonderful shots. :-)

Kelly said...

Gwen....thanks....I did. Now I know why my son likes to get muddy. It's kind of fun!!! :-)

Roy said...

Brilliant images Kelly, including the cygnets poor attempts at camouflage.

Midmarsh John said...

A magnificent set of photos with a great read. Of them all my favourite would be the second photo with the cygnet framed by the two adults. One of those magic moments.

Mary said...

These are just so adorable and beautiful!

Heather said...

Oh my, how friggin' adorable is that?! Just like human kids, wearing their food! What an interesting behavior - glad you were able to witness it. (And didn't you want to pick those babies up and kiss them and snuggle them just a little bit?!)

E said...

Wonderful little birds, love them, the baby herons are great too. Very nice pics, Kelly, congratulations, hugs.

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
yes very cute indeed. I love the pictures 3 and 4, they are so funny in their green robe ;-)

Kelly said...

...thanks, Enita and Chris. I don't know if I'll ever find anything that cute again!!

Tammie Lee said...

Oh my gosh, these photos are wonderful!

yen said...

kelly, you must agree with me that this post is by far your best...love it, the stage is perfect and the photos are gorgeous

forestal said...

Wonderful , must be fun to watch those lil ones