My Life With Wild Swans, Spring 4, story entries (the fonts are varied, I’ll fix that).

4/9 Bella is brooding! I watched her go back through the reeds and then she flapped her wings to jump up on the nest (it’s impossible to see in there, but when she opened her great wings, I saw where she was). It’s a very good spot. Stay safe little peeps! (it’s plenty warm enough today, they both came for a quick bite and then William went off to patrol the geese and Bella back to the eggs).

4/16 Bella didn’t leave the nest, William didn’t come, so I went looking for him. He stayed only briefly and commenced heading toward the nest so I yelled, “I’ll race you!” Even running through the woods, as he was only gliding on water (no fair), I beat him! He wouldn’t come to me, so something must have spooked them (a huge Pine was down, must have made quite a crash).

4/23 I haven’t been to the pond all week, since I fell and bruised my leg badly. Also because it was chilly and rainy and one, ticks prefer clouds (I’ve had Lyme Disease. You make note of these things) and two, I didn’t want them to leave the eggs to come see me. I got there and saw no one, kept yelling for William, couldn’t remember where Bella’s nest in the reeds was and no head was visible, just worried, you know? And William came strolling in, and Bella joined him for a quick bite (I made her oatmeal, her fave), and then both left fairly quickly so I set to work with my saw, taking care of some dead stuff in the way of my photographs, before the cygnets arrive. We don’t need unsightly branches in the way of their cuteness now do we? Here’s William biting on my boot. Punishment for my absence (better than pulling my hair though, his other means of showing annoyance. Or is it affection? Or both?)

5/6 I haven’t seen William much, because of the rain (Bella is still brooding. A friend thought that meant she’s sad, isn’t that adorable? I forget my friends don’t always know technical waterfowl terms. Nesting, I should say. Sitting. So I stayed a good long while, after finally finding William (so far away from Bella, which concerns me. What if she needs him?) I took lots of pics and sat on a log and tried for a cute selfie and William grabbed my hair and yanked for all he was worth and it’s a good thing I didn’t drop my camera in the pond. Cheeky, he is. I love him so.)

5/4 On my way to see William finally, it was nasty weather all week (ticks out, remember?) There’s a male swan across the street from Hager pond in the ‘Wayside Glass’ parking lot, sitting close to the road (Rt. 20, very busy at that morning hour). I pulled in at the restaurant, walked back, no camera, though it would have been a fabulous video. He was skittery and darted into oncoming traffic (a big truck, wouldn’t you figure?) and the guy was so good, even when the swan was darting in front of the other lane of traffic he still waited. Everyone was fabulously patient (some people try to run them over, they really don’t care). I tried to stay a step ahead of the direction he was moving, but he kept moving away from the pond because Spartacus was waiting to pulverize him. I finally steered him toward the embankment and insisted he go down there, and stood in the water until he was in, and Sparty chased him clear to the other end of the pond. I think it was Bully, who ventured into Sparty and Bella’s (both Sparty and William have a Bella) territory. She was off the nest, which makes me think the eggs may not be viable again this year. So sad (it’s true. No cygnets again this year).

Beautiful Bully
Spartacus (the black ‘knob’ above the bill swells during breeding season, even in females)

5/8 Going to be a rainy week so I went today. I usually go every other day. Don’t want to bug them, lol. Went in a tank top yesterday, it was so warm, and paid the price. A tick crawled up my shirt and latched onto a, ur, let’s just say I’m glad I found it before it had a belly full of blood, eeeewwwww.

Bella with brood, May 20 (William beside me)
Growing quickly! May 27

5/31 William came first, Bella from a distance, and she looked to be alone, but as she got nearer, I heard the endearing little baby squeaking. Such a lovely surprise! We had a sweet time, and this is as close, this soon, as Bella has let me come to her wee ones, and I was loving it. Until the end, when Jasmine got a Water Chestnut tendril wrapped around her neck. When she pushed forward it tightened, may well have choked her. I told her parents and pointed and said, “Help her!” but Bella kept going so I got in the water and pulled it off, which made William disturbed so he commenced biting on me, and Bella made the most awful sound, I can’t even describe it. Something like betrayal. She let me in close and I screwed it up. So as they fled I yelled, “I Was Trying To Help You!!!” (sometimes words would be helpful. Not often and not usually, but sometimes).

Jasmine on her mama’s back. Safest way to travel
Bella with Jasmine, May 27, 2017
and baby makes three June 3
Bella and Jasmine, June 10
protective parents. William fluffed up, Jasmine between them. They know she’s dying… I did consider grabbing her and taking her to the Wildlife Clinic, but if she is to die, she should be with her parents.
it’s uglier than it looks, really. The points are so sharp they make you bleed. And every one of these holds a crazy lot of seeds which last for up to 12 years, to make more nasty invasive Water Chestnut plants.
Water Chestnut takes over Grist Mill Pond, June, 2017. This is the first year it got so bad the swans couldn’t find enough to eat and left the pond until it cleared. Broke my heart (it’s a perennial weed. We may try a ‘natural herbicide’ next year, it’s very difficult to control).
I love this pic. Jasmine is under William’s wing, William is closest to camera
Jasmine with her daddy. He’s such a good father, my William
Bella looking for corn. Jasmine’s little foot rests in the middle of her back. So not right.
RIP, baby girl

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Photographer, Poet, Musician, Mother, Mystic, Gardener, friend of wild creatures, swan whisperer. Find me on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wingthing/

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Lori McCray

Lori McCray

Photographer, Poet, Musician, Mother, Mystic, Gardener, friend of wild creatures, swan whisperer. Find me on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wingthing/

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