Life is Never Boring – Swans

swans on dam at farm ecology rural outback Queensland Roma

I had an early morning start in the crispy cool air to run some molasses out to cattle on the farm. With three dogs on board and the 1000 litre molasses tank full, away we go in the dark, watching as the sun rises to expose what the new day will bring.

We run molasses out once to twice a week as a supplement to help the cattle digest dry grass and maintain good condition.  The other day I got a flat tyre with a full load of molasses still on.  Normally I have no worries to change a tyre; however this day, the jack I had with me struggled to lift the extra weight, so I had to wait for a heavier duty one to arrive.  After a bit of huffing and puffing the spare was on and away we went.

Much of eastern Australian is experiencing drought conditions, including here at Roma, Qld.  While we still have some feed it is starting to get low.  The country is in desperate need of rain to inspire plant growth.

Even during these dry times there is always beauty to behold in the landscape.

For the past couple of months I’ve been watching a pair of Black Swans on one of our farm dams.  Most years the same pair come back to nest, hatch and grow their young.

This year they had four babies, called cygnets.  When they hatch the cygnets have fluffy down feathers that are almost white and as they grow they gradually turn light grey and then black as they get their adult feathers.

I finally remembered to bring the camera with the zoom lense this morning.  When I arrived they were all sitting on the dam bank; however, as the vehicle got closer into the water they went with one adult at the front and the other at the back while they swam out to the middle.  This is a natural reaction, as they use the water as a barrier to potential predators such as foxes and feral cats.  The lighting was perfect as their reflections can be clearly seen in the water looking through the zoom.

Black Swans are native to Australia and can be found across most parts of the country, including in the desert.  There are some White (Mute) Swans in Australia too, however these were introduced to Western Australia many years ago and today still reside in a small part of the southwest corner of this State.

The Black Swan make an unusual trumpeting sound, more often heard at night than during the day.  They eat mostly plants, such as water weeds and algae found on and in the water.  They can fly long distances are they move around from water source to water source, chasing feed.  Depending on the size of the water body they can be found in pairs, small groups or in their hundreds congregating on lakes and swamps.

By Meryl Eddie, BOOBOOK Business Manager 

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