The Ugly Ducklings


Bees on poppy 1Bees on poppy 2

There was much competitive activity from honeybees, particularly partial to poppies

as we loaded two bags of hedge clippings and other green waste into the trusty little Modus for transporting to Efford Recycling Centre.

Recycling queue 1

This was to take some time, much of which was spent in a queue of traffic,

Hedgerow 1Hedgerow 2

admiring the hedgerows.

Recycling queue with yacht

On the horizon, through a gap in the trees, can be seen an intriguing land mass.

Isle of Wight from Efford Recycling Centre

We had enough time to watch several yachts floating by. This confirmed that the land is that of the Isle of Wight. The yachts were skimming over The Solent.

After this, Jackie drove us to Hatchet Pond and back to see if the swans had hatched their cygnets. They had.

Swans and cygnets

Here are the proud parents with, according to Hans Christian Andersen, their three Ugly Ducklings,

Swan and cygnets 1Swan and cygnet

Cygnet 1

one of which wasn’t quite sure what to do with its legs.


The Pond was so swollen that the birds chewed grass under water.

Swan and cygnets 2

One of the parents proudly stepped onto the land,

Couple with labrador

and when they both began hissing I thought that perhaps I had alarmed them into protective mode. Not so. They had seen the couple with the black labrador as they walked behind me.

Black-headed gull

Black-headed gulls also frequent this pond.

On our return home, I posted the sixth of my seven photographs in the Filling Facebook with Nature project.

Ponies and photographer

Here it is, first featured on my post of 23rd November 2013.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piri-piri and lemon chicken; a melange of leeks, onions, and mushrooms; mashed potatoes; and carrots and green beans. This was followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream. I finished the Bordeaux.


  1. Definitely not ugly ducklings, but beautiful cygnets! I love the poppies, too. Such lovely texture. Shouldn’t Jackie be running an inn or a B&B?

      1. I can imagine. I am always amazed at how she isn’t content to make one yummy dish and add a salad or something. There are always several well-thought-out dishes.

    1. As I remarked about Derrick several days back, she “hasn’t got enough to do”. 🙂

  2. I was just wondering when we’ll see the Isle of Wight again; this one from a most unusual perspective. 🙂

    All baby birds are ugly, from a human perspective. Human babies too, when they are newborns.

  3. Hello Derrick, oh how lovely all that green space appears to me tonight. I’m currently in London, staying near the Marble Arch…..yep, madness! We’re headed out of town tomorrow for tours though, so that’s nice. I saw swans today too in The Royal Gardens at Kensington (hope I’ve noted that correctly). Love that pony too!

  4. Excellent flower photos.
    Teenage cygnets always look ugly (to me). They’re like lanky teenagers of the human kind. I love them when they just a few days old though. Tiny balls of fluff. We don’t get Mute Swans in the wild on this side of Australia and I always used to admire them at Melbourne Zoo. Much more attractive than our Black Swans.

  5. I enjoyed giving extra clicks to the poppies so I could get a better look at the bees. Very interesting. The picture of the back-lit pony is masterful.

  6. The poppies are gorgeous! I also absolutely love the pony in the low sunlight. The Ugly ducklings are adorable, but their parents don’t approve close ups 🙂

  7. Just discovered your blog and looking forward to reading more! Wonderful photos and I really enjoyed your retelling of your day. Best wishes from Western Australia! TJ

      1. Wow! Small world. I must say I envy him. It is a stunning place to live. I went with the family for a day last year and rode around the whole island on bikes. Have you visited?

  8. Such wonderful views Derrick.. and does that Pink poppy have a name on your first photo as I have some giant ones exactly like it in my home garden? xxx

  9. lovely images, and I loved the mention of the Isle of Wight, home of my Grandfather and Great Aunt. It’s been 40+ years since I’ve visited, but I remember it well.

  10. We have the ugly ducklings here too. They’re six right now, but not everyone survive in the long run. Many hungry animals see them as food. But the ducklings are soo cute, I hope they make it and get away from those who wants to eat them.

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