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Brodgar Swans' first hatchling
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Brodgar Swans' first hatchling

'The Brodgar swans' with first hatchling of 2009 (3 June). Six more to come.
Picture added on 01 October 2009 at 10:16
I briefly visited this nest almost every day during the incubation period, and I sincerely believe some sort of relationship developed between the female swan and me. On my arrival she would always give a perfunctory hiss, then most likely tuck her head under her wing and go to sleep - as much as to say, "Go away! Oh, it's only him. No worries." At last one day I saw the loose eggshell and knew she must have at least one hatchling. But all was concealed under her feathers. I waited, and soon the swan took pity on me and raised her left wing for several seconds. Then she settled herself down in a firm sort of way that said, "End of photocall. Goodbye."
Later, when all seven cygnets had taken to the water and I duly turned up with my camera, she marshalled her brood in a tight flotilla and paraded them proudly back and forth in front of me. Which was in sharp contrast to swans on the Stenness side of the Brig which led their broods as far way as possible as soon as a human hove in sight.
The male of this pair was always much more stand-offish than his spouse, but it was clear she valued his support and was most at ease when he was close by.
You may think I'm being far too anthropomorphic and twee, and that all this obliging behaviour was down to the fact that people habitually fed the swan. It may be so, but I never fed her, nor did I see anyone else do so. And she never 'begged'.
She was a gracious lady and I became very fond of her.
Added by Ian Hourston on 01 May 2016
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