Monday, July 16, 2012
Ryton Willows Pond
Ryton Willows is a small local nature reserve on the edge of the river Tyne, on the western edge of Newcastle, with some woodland, extensive areas of grassland, gorse and very fine ponds that are SSSIs. They're also good feeding and breeding habitat for water fowl.
Like many urban fringe reserves it has its share of vandalism problems and three years ago the family of swans and cygnets that nested there were slaughtered in a barbaric air gun attack. This year's swans seem to be doing well and have raised two cygnets ...........
....... that are currently being taught life skills by the parent birds.
While we watched the female swam swam over to the bank, pulled out beak-fulls of vegetation and dropped it into the water in front of the cygnets, presumably introducing them to the concept of grazing.
Across the pond this demanding moorhen fledgling was giving the parent bird no rest and ...........
..... neither were two dabchick chicks, who converged on their mother every time she surfaced from a dive with food.