Let’s see if I can post this before Emma does :-)
As noted elsewhere, during the nesting season some of the swans on the river, and one in particular, can become aggressive. The one at the end of the reach seems partciularly provoked by our white blades. So when we were coming back today we were pleased to see it a fair way off over the river, and while it glared at us we seemed safe, several lengths clear.
But no! As we rowed on, we were treated to the sight of the mighty swan nearly taking off in that way they have, with a flapping of wings and a paddling of feet along the surface, followed by it gliding in for a peck at James who was coxing. Jolly exciting for stern four; I was in the bows and so quite safe and could enjoy the spectacle. Alas I didn’t have a camera, but it is almost worth lying in wait at the end of the reach to film a repeat.
[Update: it gets better: from an email:
> The swan on Plough Reach has become very dangerous. This evening just > before 8:00 it flew around Ditton Corner to attack me in my single, causing > me to capsize. The swan could not see me when it took off and I was moving > away from Ditton, and it landed on my rigger and attacked me with its beak. > I was in the middle of the river, away from any banks or reeds so I could > not have been threatening any nest...
And makes the CEN: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=406136]