Early Mornings on the River

Living on a boat often gets one into a routine of  early to bed, early to rise. For someone who rises early but usually does nothing more than make a coffee and grumpily stumble to my computer to stare at a screen and do some work or surf the internet, it’s quite wonderful to soak up this time of day in peace and quiet. The last few mornings I’ve tried to keep away from a screen and enjoy the special ‘moments’ especially when we’ve anchored in quiet Bull Creek.

– A couple of dolphins cruise past on a feeding run, puffing and blowing as they surface in the silence. 

– A lone kayaker cuts through the water, hardly making a ripple in the calm.

– The multitude of birds in the trees edging the river, greet the new day with deafening exuberance!

– A variety of water birds stand to attention or preen at the shallow edges.

– A family of ducklings frolic and feed as their mother keeps close watch. 

– Hearing the sound of the cars move along Mt Henry bridge in the distance on their way to work, carrying occupants with all their hopes and dreams, their worries and stresses. Blessed to not be in their place for a wee while. 

As the sun gets higher in the sky and warmer on our skin, thoughts usually turn to my second coffee of the day. As I turn the kettle on a family of black swans come visiting hoping I have some food to share (unknown to them I am against feeding wildlife). They whistle gently at each other and we whistle back pretending to communicate. We decide to research them and are amazed by their behavioural patterns. 

Black swans are monogamous and pair for life (with about a 6% divorce rate apparently 😉). 

Both parents share the care of the nest. Both sexes incubate the eggs, with the female incubating at night (so not much different to humans then! 😄)

Black swans will aggressively defend their nests with their wings and beaks. If eggs accidentally roll out of the nest, both sexes will retrieve the egg using their necks.

After hatching, the cygnets are tended by the parents for about 9 months until fledging. How old before human kids properly leave the nest? 

But here’s an interesting fact from recent studies – “An estimated one-quarter of all pairings are homosexual, mostly between males. They steal nests, or form temporary threesomes with females to obtain eggs, driving away the female after she lays the eggs.”


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