15th January 2015

Mute Swans were also gathered in numbers at the Sculpture Park yesterday. One of the biggest flying birds, and also one of the oldest (recent fossil records show the Mute Swan is one of the oldest bird species still extant), the Mute Swan either stays in its summer territory over winter, or moves a little way to form small flocks. In very cold winters some migrate into Eastern areas of the UK from Europe. Mostly herbivorous they will eat some small insects and snails. The Mute Swan population has increased slowly over the last few years, probably dues to better conservation methods and a ban on anglers using lead weights, which poisoned many birds in the past. By tradition ‘belonging’ to the monarch, Mute Swans usually mate for life. The young start off a light

Typical adult Mute Swan

Typical adult Mute Swan

This Mute Swan rests laying its prehensile neck along its body.

This Mute Swan rests laying its prehensile neck along its body.

Mute Swans can move fast in the water, thanks to their big black paddle-feet

Mute Swans can move fast in the water, thanks to their big black paddle-feet

Taking off and landing causes much more water disturbance by this big bird. Some of these are not yet fully adult and have patches of darker plumage.

Taking off and landing causes much more water disturbance by this big bird. Some of these are not yet fully adult and have patches of darker plumage.

grey-brown when cygnets and gradually gain their white plumage. Some in the photos still have grey patches, seen as they fly. Conditions: A dry and bright but increasingly windy day. Temperature: Max 4- Min 2C.

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