Tuesday, 24 March 2015

This week they are the King's swans

swan colony River Soar Leicester A colony of swans in the River Soar / Grand Union Canal in Leicester. As we walked around the city for the Richard III reburial events we spent some time in Castle Park overlooking the river.
Swans are usually territorial (like the ones on my local river that will come hurtling towards you!) and found just in pairs but where there is a larger area with plenty of food available they will colonise, like here.River Soar view from Castle Gardens These are Mute Swans and you can see the juvenile swans with their grey bills. Certainly they were enjoying the plentiful food offered by kind passers by. They are ok to eat fresh bread but really it can cause algae in water that can be harmful, so it would be better to take along pieces of carrot, potato, spinach or lettuce for them. looking-at-swans Of course in Medieval times they were on the menu and I bet our Richard ate swan. Recent analysis shows that Richard III had a rich diet of swan, heron and egret.Mute swan The swan holds his legs up like this as their large surface area of their feet is used to control body temperature.feeding-swans I bet swans have been under this historic bridge, West Bridge, for generations. They can live until they are 30 but unfortunately these days, 12 is a the usual lifespan and that is due to human elements like pollution, fishing tackle injuries, vandalism and dogs. Makes you think what a pest humans are!West Bridge Leicester Some of the stone heads of West Bridge built in 1891. They depict the characters from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I have a bit of a fascination with carved heads, grotesques and gargoyles. Stone-Heads-West-Bridge-Leicester   photo Chaucers-Tales-stone-heads-Leicester_zpsq8ku1xik.jpg
A swan asleep tucks his head away. Happy snoozing away on the river. The slight staining on the head is from feeding in iron-rich waters or from mud whilst searching for water weeds, plants and snails.sleeping-swan So here in Leicester, the swans are for Richard III and what an event that was on Sunday and I cannot wait to write about it. A perfect day of history, sunshine and nature.River Soar Grand-Union-Canal
 I love our waterways in the UK, such special places for wildlife and nice to see us all happily coexisting from walker and canal boats to wildfowl and mammals.

 Fairly recently a cygnet had become trapped within a lock system and the parents tried and tried to encourage the young swan to fly out. Eventually I think a member of the boating community intervened and all is well. swans and ducks  photo Cor-Blimey-boat_zpsunxwf2ap.jpg

ANIMALTALES

10 comments:

Anca said...

Beautiful pictures. I can't wait for the post about Richard III. I fancied coming, but hubby is busy and it's a 2+ hours drive from Liverpool.

Erica Price said...

It seems appropriate to be talking about swans as Richard's been buried.

Kriss MacDonald said...

Love all the facts and info about swans you added plus glad you suggested alternative and healthier snacks to feed them!

Happy Homebird said...

I'm in Cheshire, not too far away from you. This was my birthday day trip treat. I'm in my local RichardIII Society so absolutely had to go! :)

Happy Homebird said...

Yes, his swan song.

Happy Homebird said...

Thank you. I love learning about our UK wildlife. Nice to be getting back to what I did at Uni, fresh water ecology was my main interest.

Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault said...

Swans are wonderful and it's nice to know that they won't be appearing on anyone's dinner plate any time soon, even if Richard III was partial to them. It is so sad that, though, that our human activity has reduced their lifespan and your good tip about feeding them vegetables instead of bread might help keep their waters cleaner.

Thank you so much for adding your royal story to #AnimalTales

Anca said...

In this case, you had to go :)

Adam said...

I love the majesty of the swans.

Mama Herself said...

I've recently taken an idle interest in historical eating habits. Mainly focused on biscuits, mind. I kw about swans. I did *not* know herons were on the menu. I am now consumed by curiosity to know what they taste like. Cool!

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