Friday, 23 April 2010

Beauty and the Beast

An early evening trip to the Vale tonight and some very rowdy behaviour by the recently arrived Mute Swan Cob...
After seeing off the offspring of the murdered former resident Cob a few weeks back, the new Swan seems intent on ridding the reserve of every other bird that resides there!

First to be shown the door tonight was the entire flock of Canada Geese, followed by most the Mallards and all but two of the Coots.

The Cob was strutting around the two Mill Ponds, chasing away any bird he thought would be a threat to his courtship with the Pen Swan that arrived at the Vale at the same time as him...Very natural behaviour at this time of year as it happens.

However, his reign of terror didn't last long and he was soon put in his place when he tried to confront a normally placid Muscovy Duck.

The unlikely hero stubbornly stood his ground and pretty soon the Cob retreated and normal service resumed as the exiled Geese and Ducks slowly returned.

Quite a entertaining evening watching the antics of the Mute Swan, but on the downside, the recent spell of fine weather brought out the first real big swarm of Midges of the year.
I left the Vale well bitten and very itchy after not taking any insect repellent with me...To be truthful, I really wasn't expecting to encounter so many, so early in the year!
Midges can be a big problem for nature lovers in the warmer months, especially in northern Britain.
Although we get our fair share in the north of England, the problem isn't anywhere near as bad as it is in Scotland.
Which reminds me of something that made me laugh recently...
A lady from Essex (in the south of England where there isn't really much Midge trouble) posted on a Internet forum, about her plans to visit the Isle of Mull and the Scottish mainland in August.
She said that she had heard that Midges were a real problem at this time of year and was asking for advice about what insect repellent to use and what else she could do to avoid being bittern.
The first response to her questions was by Hugh from Inverness..."Just try not to look English and they won't bother you!"

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