Back at the pond, the important business of nest-building continues. It’s family time on the water where hopefully, Mr. and Mrs. Mute-Swan will take care of business and fill their nest with cygnets. Their babies will become the new generation of swans on Whitins pond.
Later, time enough to go attack those demon geese.
The daring fait accompli has not been without ramifications, however. The Mute-Swan family has built a new nest in an adjacent curve of the pond, a swampy, shallow area with excellent nearby food sources and a clear 360 degree view of the surrounding area.
Today, we followed Mr. Swan as he patrolled his piece of the pond, keeping a wary and belligerent eye out for The Enemy Geese.
Looking right left, then snaking his head behind, he headed for home by the most indirect route possible.
Garry and I, cameras hanging all over the place followed Mr. Swan’s passage through reeds and swamp grass. He made one brief check to make sure we were not a threat or, alternatively, packing goodies for him. I apologized but had not had the foresight to bring bread. Sorry kids. Next time!
Having ascertained that we were neither a threat nor a source of food, papa Swan proceeds to the nest where he joins Mrs. Swan who is still fixing up her nest and could really use a little help.
Together they enjoy a few cozy moments, rearranging pieces of grass and reeds and weeds and suchlike.
As you can imagine, the Mute-Swans were not happy about this. They stayed in their nest and made evil eyes at the geese until the Canada Geese took flight. Using a widely circuitous flying path, the geese returned to their (stolen) nest
You can run (fly) geese, but you cannot hide! Mr. Mute-Swan because knows where you live because your nest was HIS nest before you snatched it. And Mr. Mute-Swan holds a grudge. If he had shoulders, there would be a very big chip on them.
After the geese flew home to the other end of the pond, mom and dad Mute-Swan spent a some more time snuggling and arranging furnishings.
Were the geese lulled into a false sense of security thinking that Mr. Swan forgave or forgot? Not on your life. As soon as the missus was settled in, Mr. Swan decided it was time to swim next door to harass bad neighbor Canada Geese.
Mr. Swan spots his hated neighbors.
“Aha!” he says in Swan-ese. “Never shall these evil geese know a moment’s peace while I’m on the pond!” Gathering himself together, he gets ready to show those geese a thing or two!
“I’ll show you, nest stealing demon geese!”
It’s going to be a long, hot summer down on Whitins Pond. Very long and hot, hot, hot!
What struck me the most about this was how human the birds’ behavior is. The geese, having already stolen the swans’ nest have no reason to keep bugging the swans. And the big male swan, having built a new nest, had no reason at all to go over to the geese and harass them. He was simply pissed off at the geese and wanted to get a little of his own back. He had clearly no intention or expectation that he would be able to drive the geese away. He just did it to annoy them. Pure revenge.
I didn’t know birds could hold a grudge. I didn’t think water fowl committed acts of vengeance. I didn’t know animals could behave in a way that is as petty as people. I’m betting that although the geese won the battle, they will never know a moment’s peace on Whitins Pond because that big bad Mr. Swan is not going to ever forgive or forget the insult of having his nesting place usurped by a couple of geese.
That’s about as human as it gets. Next thing you know, they’ll be setting up a government and giving tickets for swimming too fast in the channels.
We stopped at the pond yesterday and I was sad to see that the geese are still occupying the nesting area and the swans are still patrolling around it. The longer the stand-off continues, the less likely we are to have little swans this year. There is a lot of room for other nests, but swans apparently are very programmed and keep the same nests … and the same mates … till death do them part. In the meantime, they are still on the pond. Sooner or later, something will happen.
I went looking for the swans, but they were far away and I didn’t have a long lens on the camera. It was late in the day and the shadows were long and strangely blue. I played with the image which I liked but clearly needed help to make it pop.
I used several different filters to bring the swan out and reduce the blueness and intensity of the shadow on his feathers. The result is more than a little impressionistic, but not unattractive.
We passed the pond where my swans live. I only saw two swans today, but I heard a lot of honking, so they were around, just not showing themselves.
The trees are in bud and it’s warm. But we have no crocus this year. Unless they are very late in coming up, we won’t have any. I see tiny narcissus buds, but no crocus. I’m disappointed. But hopefully, there will be other flowers.