Lincoln Swans Update

Over the last few days I have been keeping an eye on both of the Swan nests near Lincoln University and the one at St. Marks, my previous blog post can be found here. I have photographs taken at both sites on 2 separate occasions (17th and 23rd May) and rather than post them separately I will post them together in this single post.

Sunday 17th May – University
Unfortunately where I now work is quite a way from both the Swan nests so I only really get a chance to view them at the weekend, this is compounded by the fact that it’s quite a task to take my DSLR with me as well as the other items that I need for work. This is one area where the smaller frame mirrorless cameras proved their worth.

So last Sunday (two days after visiting Woodside) I was in town on an errand which needed the car so I grabbed my Urban Photo Sling 250 (that contains the D810, a few lenses and the other essentials) to see if there was any update on the nests whilst I was in town. I went to University nest first.

The Pen was sitting on the nest and whilst I was there apart from a bit of preening there wasn’t much to see, I have been told that she has 5 eggs under her but I have yet to see them:

For the first time I saw a Cobb (Male swan) swimming just up river a bit, I assumed that this was most likely the Pen’s mate. On the following Thursday (21st May) when I was passing on the way to Firth road I saw both the Pen (on her nest) and the Cobb close together:

Sunday 17th May – St. Marks
After not seeing too much I ventured (upstream?) towards St. Marks to see if there was anything happening; the weather had turned and it had been drizzling a bit. On the way to the nest I noticed this small bird drying itself; I think that it’s most likely a young house sparrow:

On the ground was this (very wet) blackbird, I like the way that he stared straight back at me:

So I arrived at the nest and noticed there was a large number of male Mallard Ducks around too, I tried to take my photos without disturbing them. The Pen was maintianing the nest:

I was hoping that she would “turn” them whilst I was there but no such luck:

The Cobb was also in the vicinity:

Here are a couple of examples of the sleepy ducks:


One of the ducks seemed to be a loner and was not welcomed wherever he went:
He eventually he went back into the water and swam off somewhere.

The final shot of the day was this male blackbird (a photo which I quite like):

Saturday 23rd May – St. Marks
Today I went into town on the bus and with my trusty D810 in its Lowepro Urban Photo Sling 250 I decided to visit the swan nests first as I had a hour to kill before I met up with my parents for a meal (in town). This time I got off the bus one-stop early and headed to the nearest nest, the St. marks one.

As I walked up I could here a tweeting noise, and I thought that the swan had may some cygnets. I was pleased and confused at the same time as I got nearer. Yes there was a cygnet hatched and in the water:

It was swimming with the Cobb, I have never seen a single cygnet hatch and then get into the water before the others (you can see the egg-tooth in this photo):

Whilst the cygnet was swimming around the Pen decided to check the eggs:

She gave them all a good turn:
I noticed that there were only 5 eggs left (she had 7), so either an egg went missing or the egg hatched and we have a cygnet missing – we’ll never know. My other concern is that with only 1 egg hatched so far, we may only get one cygnet. The other eggs had no cracks in them but we may see others later (I will have to go back tomorrow and check).

After the Pen had settled down on the nest both the cygnet and the Cobb left the water. The cynget wanted to be with its mother and was trying to get onto her back:

After failing to get up on its mother’s side, the cygnet went around the back:

And started to climb:

It’s gone all dark:

Let me help you:

Nearly there:


Lets all preen together as a family (father in the background):

An almost too adorable portrait shot of mother and cynget together.

I also took a 30 second movie and posted this on YouTube:

Saturday 23rd May – University
After watching and documenting lots of things that I have never witnessed before I eventually tore myself away to go to the other nest. I was hoping that this swan had had one of more cygnets hatch too. As I got nearer I passed the Cobb who hissed at me (not good) but he was far enough away from the Pen to allow me to see if there were any cygnets.

Unfortunately no cygnets yet:

I have yet to see any eggs, the mother is very patient:

The presence of the father (Cobb) does show that we cannot be too far away from hatching day:

Whilst I was taking pictures he ventured nearer the Pen, I made sure to keep my distance:

Wrap Up
As you can see I had a great time today and will have to venture back tomorrow and see if the St.Marks swans have any more cygnets and see if the University swan has any too. I have to say that I am very lucky to live somewhere I get to witness such wonders almost on my doorstep. 🙂


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