"Scottish Snippets"

"Colour Supplement"

3 June 2006

Each week the Rampant Scotland Newsletter includes a number of photographs which illustrate the weather, flora and fauna of the current week around Scotland. There are so many such graphics worth including that a separate "colour supplement" is created so as not to totally overload the Newsletter. Here is this week's crop!

Cygnets and Swans

It's always great to see the first cygnets of the year going for a paddle with their parents. These ones were spotted this week at Kilmardinny Loch, north of Glasgow. This pair of swans produced five cygnets last year too. Unlike many other birds, the little cygnets have to learn to feed themselves from the start.

Cygnets and Swans

Shortly before this picture was taken, the swans and cygnets were on the muddy bank of the loch. The bulky adults can't see what is underneath them and at one point stepped on top of one of the youngsters! It seemed to be unharmed from the experience - apart from being a bit muddier than the others. Cygnets sometimes hitch a ride on their parents' back.

Young Coot

A face - and feet - only a mother coot could love? This young coot is probably a few weeks old. Even so, it still relies on its parents bringing it food. When they first hatch, the female stays with them, keeping them warm and the male brings them all food. Later, once the chicks are a few days old, both parent coots are very good at feeding their young - mum and dad compete with one another to take food to their youngsters.

Coots being fed

These coot chicks are being fed with some bread by one of their parents. Even when the food landed beside them, the young coots just looked down at it until mum or dad came along, picked it up and fed it to them. The parents will continue to do this for over four weeks.

Mallard Chicks

These mallard ducklings were enjoying the sunshine at Hogganfield Loch, Glasgow, earlier this week. The young mallards are able to swim, dive and feed themselves soon after hatching.

Mallard Chicks Escorted by Mum

The female mallard sits on the eggs for nearly four weeks before they hatch. During that time, the male mallard deserts the female and has nothing more to do with tending the young. The female is very protective of her brood and will fight off other birds, including any seagulls attempting to snatch one of the youngsters from the water. Even so, unlike the coots (and many other birds) she does not feed her ducklings and can even be seen competing with them for bread and other "treats"!

Mallard Chicks

These mallards were photographed at Kilmardinny Loch. At one point, a mallard duckling decided that an adult coot was attempting to steal its bread - and squared up to it! Talk about David and Goliath! There was a bit of flapping of wings - and the coot retreated! Flushed with that success, the same bird then chased off another female mallard. Definitely an alpha male, that one!

If you want to look back at earlier editions of this Colour Supplement, there is an Index Page

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Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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