We noted new behavior from the Mute Swan pair almost immediately this weekend. When we arrived at the lake Saturday morning we found both the male and the female swan sitting on the nest together. This was the first time we had observed this kind of behavior from the pair, and it was decidedly different from their normal routine.
Of course, we had a strong suspicion about what was motivating this change in behavior, but it would take a walk to the opposite side of the pond before we could be certain. Over there we were able to find a few places where the nest could be viewed mostly free of intervening vegetation, and we began getting fleeting glimpses of the day or two old cygnets. Our best estimate is that there are at least three new family members, each of a slightly different shade of gray.
From my talks with various park patrons, a clear view of the nest—even from the far side of the lake—is an unusual occurrence. Ordinarily the nest is completely obscured by cattail reeds. People who have watched the swans in past years had to wait for the cygnets to begin to follow their parent into the main body of the lake before getting their first look.
Evidently, the pond dried enough this summer that the city was able to mow around the nesting site. Without this mowing the nest would not have been visible this year. And, as you can see in the following pictures, the reeds are coming back with a vengeance. Soon the nest will be hidden from view once again. We had fortuitous timing this spring!