With around 100 swans currently undergoing moult in Cardiff Bay, how could we turn our noses up at the opportunity to combine ringing with spot of paddling? Not literally ringing and paddling; that would be somewhat silly (note to self, work out way to paddle and ring birds). So after much discussion this week and one member trying to fobb us off with the old "bad foot" excuse, the Taff Swan Ring Reading Expeditionary Party met at the last minute on the banks of the Taff yesterday evening. The plan was simple paddle out in the kayaks, feed bird corn, birds come close, ringer reads ring. Easy!
Sadly the major flaw in this otherwise obviously flawless plan was that one member of the party, whose initials may be RJF, forgot to bring the corn. Nether the less we paddled optimistically out on to the Taff with hopes of ring numbers galore. Needless to say the minute we touched water, the swans put two primaries up at us and effortlessly evaded out effort-ful, and at times slightly wheezy, approaches. We got fairly close to one, and by close I mean nowhere near close enough to read a ring. Next time corn or bread will be brought – mistakes are just an opportunity to try again!
With the swans giving us the swin-around we decided to call it quits and just enjoy a paddle. We couldn’t fail to do so. It was a gloriously sunny evening and we were surrounded by dozens of swifts, house and sand martins and the odd swallow. Flying low, they were coming within a metre or so of our kayaks. Pure magic!
The biggest bonus of all was that I didn’t drown!