Got treats?

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.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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37 Responses to Got treats?

  1. Laurie says:

    Yikes! I would not like being in such close (and sudden) proximity to a swan! They can be mean! My college had 2 mute swans on a little pond near the math building. Their names were Fred and Ethel. I can remember tales of them attacking students, especially if the students got too close at nesting time.

    Apparently, this swan did not get the message from the other one you had an earlier encounter with that you are a threat and was hoping for some treats instead! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I know they can be very mean Laurie, especially when they are aggravated and think you are trying to harm them. In the first post where the swan left his mate and ran up that Creek embankment, he had been snorting but I thought he had been dipping his head underwater (nasal congestion???) so I later discovered that they snort when aggravated, just like the geese will hiss at you. He was very large and imagine one just appearing in front of you – this all happened in under two minutes! I like the names of Fred and Ethel. People from “our era” know who Fred and Ethel are. 🙂 I never thought to name this guy … I know it’s a male as it has a large knob on its beak. A fellow blogger from the UK, Andy, told me about that knob the last time I posted about the swan a few weeks ago. I think you are right – he saw me feeding the squirrels and birds and decided I was not all that bad of a person.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        When I typed “Fred and Ethel” I wondered if you would know who they were, but then I remembered you and I are the same age! My grandfather used to keep geese. I can remember as a little girl, I was always afraid of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yup, we are from that era aren’t we? The barnyard geese are much ornier than the Park geese I’m guessing. My mom grew up going to her grandmother’s farm every August where they would bring in the crops and she used to talk about all the ornery farm animals there.

        Like

  2. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………….yes you captured that majestic swan with your beautiful camera…………………………………..it was meant to be that he came right out of the water toward you…………………………..all the others told him you are the one with the treats………………….

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – I am starting to think that is true … don’t think the other critters are not mindful of who is getting treats in the Park. Do I need to be packing more treats when I set out each morning, like sardines for the heron, worms or meal worms for the robins, grapes for the geese and the swans? Remember when I was at Dingell Park that time and the guy was feeding the swan the banana? He broke it apart and put it on the edge of the pavilion and the swan came and ate all the pieces. I had nothing for it that day and so I tossed it peanuts – yup, it liked peanuts too. They are probably hungry! Heather, a fellow blogger from the UK, told me over there they can buy swan food to feed them at the parks, not hand feeding, but tossing to them in the water where they stay.

      Like

  3. Joni says:

    Your reputation for treats must have preceded you! I did not know they were that big – but he looks quite large in the pictures. I wonder how much they weigh?

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes Joni, I think one critter sees other critters are getting treats and maybe it is worth their while to meander by? It happened so fast that I did not have time to get the camera and the peanuts … had I done so, I might have gotten some better close-ups like I did for the Ice-Cutter post … I don’t think he even noticed me standing there – it was wonderful watching him. He was dirty in the front – never have seen that before. Maybe climbing up the embankment? I should have put their weight as well – the average male weights 26 pounds (12 kilograms) and I’ll edit this post to add that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I hopped onto Goggle and checked the weight, and it said sometimes the white breast is discoloured from iron or tannins in the water.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Wow – that is interesting because I just assumed it was the Creek water, although down at the Detroit River, the water is clear as a bell and you can see the rocks beneath the water. And their necks are still discolored. That makes sense. I remember having reddish/brown colors embedded in my garden shoes years ago and a neighbor telling me it was the rust and iron in the soil and is shows up in the blades of grass. I looked at my backyard today … the poplar fleece is flying around and I’ve not had the A/C on, but wanted to ensure the one day last weekend did not pull too much cottonwood in the condenser coils. There was none. I am happy to report my Nellie Moser Clematis is out, one rose has a few leaves on the bottom canes… the rest are not green, and the Miss Kim is done blooming for the season. It didn’t try too hard. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        HA! It may not have tried too hard, but you should give Miss Kim an A for effort after twenty years! I have one clematis flower out too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You’re right Joni – Miss Kim does deserve an A for effort. And my big clematis I planted years ago and had climbing up the pole to the ornamental log cabin bird feeder died a couple of years ago. However, this is the smaller clematis which never produced a lot of flowers before … go figure what is going on with these plants suddenly wanting to be the stars of the garden? It goes along with the weather. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That is strange. Maybe they are enjoying the lack of competition!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        One of those “I’ll show them!” kind of things.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Joni says:

    PS. I guess we are better off with all this rain, than with snow like in your linked posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a lovely post on swans! I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. susieshy45 says:

    I am shocked and in awe like you that that beautiful bird came out of the water and stood there in a friendly way just being himself without fear. I wish you could have given him some snacks, perhaps he was tired after a long journey. Is it still cold out there ? I am glad you are getting your miles in.
    Susie

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was amazing Susie and if he had stayed there a little longer I could have gotten a little closer to him and some better pictures. He just appeared then stopped, kept staring at me and was motionless, as if he knew I was the person who always takes his picture. It has to be the same swan – down at the River you see lots of swans, but here at this Park and in this Creek, just one at a time, Maybe he was just enjoying the peace and solitude of that early Sunday morning and no one was around. Just him and me. It was down where the Creek widens that he caught up with those Canada geese. I was in awe too Susie … I wondered how he got so dirty. Usually they are snow white all over except their necks are a little yellow from dipping into the water, which in this case, the Creek water is dirty. It is finally normal June weather here in Michigan, temperature wise. The weatherman just said that yesterday that we are at a normal weather pattern finally, though he expects more clouds in June while all the rain from May and April dissipates … we have four sunny days coming up so I will get some miles in thankfully and enjoy the sun while doing so. I wanted to tell you … you asked me in a prior post if I count my miles in a 5K toward my goal – yes I do. I was answering your comments and my answer flew off the screen as I clicked “Post Comment” (annoying) … I tried to remember what I said to write you back again and days later I remembered you asked me that so I apologize … yes, I do count those miles and do extra miles since it is a weekend and I have more time. In fact almost double the miles … a 5K is only 3.2 miles and on the weekend, if the weather cooperates, I try to do 6 miles usually. If we could get a long run of good weather, I’d feel better about accomplishing banking up some miles toward my eventual goal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 says:

        I thought that swan was white, I didn’t notice the dirt though.
        A 5 K is 5 kms right ?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes he is very white Susie and sometimes their necks are a little yellowish looking … our Creek is dirty and they are foraging for food underwater. Take a look at the front of him – his feathers are all black in the front.
        Wonder if he got that way marching up the embankment? Yes a 5K is 5 kms. That’s only 3.2 miles and on weekends I try to do 6 miles, so I always walk around afterward to get more miles in.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Swans and Canada Geese can beat their wings upon intruders with a lot of violence and force but that is usually not what they do unless youngsters are around. Many times they get so used to people that they let their young come very close to humans too. Cool pics! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I saw some geese and goslings yesterday and someone before me on the path had gotten too close to them (admittedly it was the geese/goslings who were on the path) and the gander hissed and flapped his wings. That person jumped back and nearly fell over in their haste to get away. I tell people who are pushing strollers and don’t want to go on the wet grass that they have to do that, or back up, turn around and go the other way … the kid in the stroller would be a “sitting duck” if the gander thinks the people are harming their goslings. I can see something like that happening at my park where I walk daily as it is a small park and the geese/goslings crowd us off the path throughout May/June. This swan was so docile Tom, and I was so startled by its sudden appearance that I did not have myself together … the other times I had the camera out already and was watching the swans … he just wanted to say “hey” and then move on. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • So cool that the swan is a pacifist! 🙂 I bet he’s one of us vegetarians.
        It’s typical for geese to do that hissing/ charging thing and then stop and back off. 99% of the time, it’s what they do. However, if there is that one belligerent bird and a kid in a stroller is in his sights… that can be a dangerous moment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I wish I’d have all my wits together and gotten a little closer to it Tom. I got flustered, not out of fear, but just because it came out of nowhere and I was unprepared to do more than admire it. I am quite surprised how fast they navigate on land with those big feet. They go from point A to point B in no time! I’ve warned those people before and some have their kids riding ahead of them on a tricycle or bike with training wheels. Same thing. I’m careful with the geese, and I’m an adult and a kid might be fascinated and pedal toward trouble. And the goslings are getting bigger and have a whole lot of attitude and hiss at the walkers sometimes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful swans, Linda! I saw a family with six cygnets in California, as well as a Canadian goose family with goslings. They sure are big and all of the ones I encountered were rather curious about the humans in their vicinity. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked the photos Sabine. I had hoped to do that slideshow and it would appear as “moving pictures” and a more dramatic look at him, but I can’t access the old Editor anymore. Maybe WordPress makes me have Gutenberg as the default now? It was such a surprise to see this swan appear out of nowhere and then go back to the water, not two minutes later. I aim to see those cygnets riding on Mom’s back Sabine and am going to enjoy seeing yours. Maybe next year now. for my swan and cygnet experience. I never even saw ducklings this year, but it was not for lack of trying. We have many goslings this year, much more than usual and I’m enjoying them immensely.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I miss my Swans! They are swimming about up in the Yukon. You’d think they could send a post card or call?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow, the swan obviously felt really at ease with your loving presence❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Mackenzie says:

    LOL! Not many people can say they have been charged by a swan. Doesn’t he know Mother Nature Linda always comes in peace?! I give you props for still getting these pics as close as you did! He is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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