The swans were away from the nest when we visited this week, but it took some investigating to be sure. The reeds at this end of the pond have grown up tall over the last several weeks, and there are now only a couple locations that allow even a partially unobscured view of the nest.
We searched those places out first, and when we didn’t find the swans on the nest it required only a quick look around to locate the entire swan family relaxing in the shade on the far side of the lake.
We took the long way round to where the swans were, and by the time we reached the other side of the pond a sizable group of people had gathered around to observe and photographs the elegant white birds and their charming babies. The swans were very tolerant of this activity and did not seem to be disturbed by the attention they were getting. Only at once did an excited child approach closely enough to elicit a display of aggression from the male swan.
These swans are used to having lots of people around. They are fed well and frequently by the park’s patrons. Even so, they could probably stand a bit of an extra margin while their cygnets are so young. As you may remember from last week’s report, there were three cygnets in the nest when we visited last week. Today there were only two. One young swan has already been lost and the reason is not immediately clear.
Of the two remaining cygnets, the smaller seemed to struggle a bit when the family began to move around. He had to work a little harder to keep up than did his older sibling. Both young swans appeared otherwise healthy, so his difficulties are likely related solely to his age. Just a day or two can make a big difference in the strength these young birds are able to muster.
Another consideration when approaching the swan family is that adult Mute Swans have a reputation for being aggressive when they feel threatened. I’ve read reports of angry Mute Swans successfully driving away a full grown man—with a young child there is the real potential for injury, and that wouldn’t be good for any of the parties involved.
So, what else was going on at the lake on this sunny afternoon? Quite a few things. Please see the pictures below…