I have not written about Mr. Mute Swan in a while, and his unexpected presence on an early Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend, gives me the perfect opportunity to do so.
First off, I have been walking at Council Point Park on most weekends, as well as the weekdays, because this little park, unlike the larger ones that I sometimes visit, is not saturated and soggy. The perimeter path is higher than the grounds, and, while the Creek water level has risen substantially from our last two months of incessant rain, it is far from flooding its banks. So, it’s been a bigger joy than ever to trek around my favorite nature nook, plus, the fact that a passel of goslings are always within sight is a great reason as well.
When I walk on the weekends at this venue, I have more time to linger, so I usually feed my furry and feathered pals the first time around, then I can concentrate more on taking pictures while walking. So, this time was no different. I came up to the pavilion area and noticed a lot of chalk drawings. I figured I’d take pictures later and feed my little friends first. I was fumbling around with the bag of peanuts, with one eye on the trail to scope out any of my nutty buddies, when suddenly, in my peripheral vision, I saw a big slash of white between the bushes. I knew right away it was a swan gliding down the Creek. I figured I’d catch up with it at the cement landing as it passed by. I looked again for any furry and feathered pals, figuring I’d make a mad dash down to the landing and have the camera ready when this beautiful creature glided by.
But suddenly … there we were, face to face, er … beak to face.
But Mr. Swan surprised me with an close-and-personal visit. While I stood there, still clutching the bag of peanuts, I watched it ascend the embankment, stomping the ground with those wide, webbed feet. It stopped and looked right at me. Meanwhile I was fumbling to put away the peanuts, get the camera out and focused, and niggling at my mind was whether this swan was going to charge at me, or head back into the water?
The back story (yes, there’s always a back story).
Of course you’re saying to yourself “why would Linda think the swan was going to charge at her?” Yes indeed, a male Mute Swan came after me on a cold March day because I was taking pictures of him and his Missus in the water. He swam fairly close to the Creek banks and snorted a little. I heard those snorting noises, but figured it was from immersing his head in the cold water to find food. Wrong! He climbed up the embankment lickedy-split and stomped right in my direction. Yikes! I threw down some peanuts in the snow which likely saved me from getting a bite taken out of my behind. You can read about my adventure by clicking here.
But this Mute Swan just stood there as if he was waiting for me to take his picture. I tried not to make any sudden movements that would scare him. For some reason his usually snowy white breast was marred with a dark color, but it did not diminish his regal beauty in the least.
I was in awe of this beautiful creature, just like with my second Mute Swan land encounter. That episode happened exactly two weeks later when I was strolling along the perimeter path and came upon a Mute Swan, submerged in the icy water and plunging through the ice by kicking it with it massive feet while pecking a path with its beak. I was just mesmerized at its efforts, and while standing there watching and taking some shots, the swan suddenly walked up the embankment, not far from me, and began preening, mostly pecking the ice from its feathers. It was such an extraordinary sight to see, then it went right back into the water after it rested for a few minutes. I think it was tired from its journey and I’m not so sure it was even mindful of my presence. Here is one of my favorite posts ever about “The Ice Cutter” as I called him.
Well, I digressed bigtime … so, back to THIS Mute Swan. After fumbling for the camera, I inched a little closer and it stood and gazed in my direction, even opened its mouth wide as you see in the photo up top. I’m sure it was either saying “hey there” or asking for treats, don’t you? It likely knows I am a sucker for the Park wildlife, but I’d already put the peanuts away to grab the camera – clearly, I needed more hands.
The swan meandered around Brian Skinner’s memorial tree, pecked at the mulch, then turned and went right back into the water. He could not have been on land for more than 90 seconds tops. He walked back down the embankment and next I saw him in the water, so I ran down to the cement landing to catch a clear view without any brush or reeds in the way.
Watch as he spins around to look at me at the cement landing, then heads downstream. He ended up with some Canada Geese, then I eventually lost sight of him. I took a lot of pictures and sat down pondering which ones to use for this post. I concede they look similar, yet, I thought if I did a slide show, perhaps I could better illustrate his presence. (Unfortunately this time I could not do a hybrid post half in Gutenberg Editor, half in Classic Editor, so I’ll leave the photos gallery style instead.) So, imagine this swan, who was easily my height (69 inches/175 cm), and the average swan measures 50 to 60 inches (127 to 152 cm) in length, with a wingspan of about 82 to 94 inches (208 to 239 cm). Also I might add that the average Cob (male Mute Swan) weighs around 26 pounds (12 kilograms). Suffice it to say that he was huge! And those big feet! His demeanor was so calm that I believe I could have asked someone to take a photo of us together. But, just like the last two times, I was the only one who witnessed this beautiful swan up close and personal.