I know that so many people are hoping to hear good news about the Widewater Swan pair who have been nesting this breeding season.
I visited the site today and viewed the nest from Dave and Mo Wilson’s garden. At the moment, the pen is still sitting on her nest but the eggs have not hatched. Dave has been keeping a close eye on them and he has been managing to get food and water to the the pen. I was relieved to hear that the Swans swap roles most days and the pen has been able to leave the nest to go on to the water to feed and wash whilst he takes over on the nest. This will help her to keep in good condition.
Dave and I calculated that this is her 7th week since she started laying eggs. Historically, her eggs hatch after 5 weeks so we estimate that she is 2 weeks “overdue”. There is a small chance that the eggs may still hatch as we have had some cold weather and the pen may have delayed incubation. She won’t incubate unless she is sure that she can keep the eggs at the right temperature. However, if the eggs haven’t been fertilised they won’t hatch. At some point she will realise this and leave the nest. If the embryos are alive she will sense movement and hear sounds in the egg but if not, she will finally give up and leave the nest for good. I have asked the Swan sanctuary for advice and they have advised leaving her to work all this out for herself especially as she washing, preening and feeding so health wise she is not in danger.
The Swans have also shown that they are perfectly capable of defending themselves against predation by fox. The cob is vigilant and guards his mate on the nest at night and for most of the day except when patrolling the lagoon. All things considered, the Swans are at least, safe.
There is a small chance that the eggs may still hatch if the length of time is due to cold weather. But as every day goes by it seems less likely. Let’s wait a little longer and see. Grateful thanks to Dave Wilson who is doing all he can to help our Swans.
by Jo Procter