First the bad news: An out-of-reach white feathered body floating at the north end of the millpond had ripples around it (above left) as turtles that occasionally popped up their heads (above right) dined on it beneath the surface. It’s one of the cygnets. Born on about May 6th, it had a short life.
On a happier note, Blonde Bombshell #2 appeared on the opposite shore with her wings lowered, a sure sign she was keeping new ducklings warm (above left). Moments later, she entered the water with dark dots following her and headed into water lilies (above right). The images are terrible because of the fading light, but it confirms she’s alive and well. I’m sure I’ll meet the kids soon and be able to confirm their numbers. It looked like there were 4-5. She’s 2012Brood11.
On the near shore behind underbrush too thick to obtain an accurate count, another hen had about 4 newborns scooting around. It was almost impossible to photograph this group but at least these shots are good enough to identify the mom when I see the family in better light soon. This is 2012Brood12.
Meanwhile, the swans with their only remaining cygnet were surrounded by dense water plants, lilies on one side and cattails on the other. Both parents were feverishly ripping out plants and stacking them up, not eating them. Perhaps they were constructing a makeshift “fort” to protect their offspring from turtles. I’ve never seen them do that before (below).