Swans on the Rideau

Our Colonel By Lake hosts at least two Mute Swans more or less permanently as reported in earlier posts. Later in early spring, we observed a flock of 10-15 adult and juvenile swans on the lake. Where would they reside we wondered?

Then, in the second week of June we saw five Tundra Swans, they were a little grey-white with characteristic black bills and straight necks. Adult Tundra swans are spotless white so these were juveniles from last years breeding season. They were way out of their regular territory which is north of the Great Lakes, where the tundra is. Being so far from home they were looking for friends among the Mute Swans, but these put up a show with their wings turned up like sails, swimming slowly and threateningly to the younger Tundra Swans, clearly indicating that they were not welcome.

swans april 2015

A Mute Swan displaying dominance…  Photo credit Henk Wevers.

© Marshall Faintich Beaver Creek Lake, Crozet, VA 2/10/13

© Marshall Faintich
Beaver Creek Lake, Crozet, VA
2/10/13

A juvenile Tundra Swan. Note straight neck, not fully black bill and less than pristine white colour. Photo from WWW at: http://www.symbolicmessengers.com/Blog2013/02_12_2013.htm

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The question of where all these swans reside for the spring and summer season, came to light when I made a trip up the Rideau with a visiting friend from Holland. Travelling on the River Styx towards Lower Brewer’s Mills Lock we noticed several flocks of Mute Swans along the shore, where pasture and wetlands meet at the entrance to the canal leading past Joyceville Penitentiary towards the locks. Each flock had at least 10-15 members, and in addition there were several pairs leisurely swimming in different areas near shore. One pair of parents had four cygnets, one baby was sitting on top of her parent, the others were closely clustered together between Pa and Ma as our boat slowly drifted by. The photos I shot would have been stunning, except for some reason my camera was on manual focus which caused all of them to be out of focus, sorry. Here is one that looks alike but is on loan from the Encyclopedia Britannica at: cygnets

swan mute cygnets

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In closing, Jackie Duffin and Bob Wolfe, neighbours on the road, canoed on the Lake and saw the Tundra Swans “hanging out” with a flock of Canada Geese.

Since all these swans and geese species are family one rejoices the fact that at least some of the family members seem to get along.

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swan mute kids

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WILD and BEAUTIFUL

floxes nice 2015

 The phloxes are abundant along the Aragon Road and it is a sure sign of spring.

The Aragon Road is frequently used for recreational activities such as hiking, jogging, bicycle riding, horseback riding, boating and more. There is much to admire and we are lucky to live on a road that is bound by the Rideau Canal on the south and by extensive Class-one agricultural lands, many of which are used for pasture and offer wide vistas. When lucky one can see foxes, deer, sometimes a fisher, a raccoon family and on the water geese, ducks and lately several large white mute swans. In the air turkey vultures circle on the updrafts, and osprey are looking for fish to feed their young.

The damage to our road side trees and shrubs in early spring by a City road side clearing crew using a “flailing” machine, has been cleaned up by a two person private contractor with chainsaws and some common sense. Neighbours came in action and addressed the Rural Advisory Committee with City staff present. We were assured that in he future maintenance will be executed with more regard for the natural vegetation and be more selective.

More of our neighbours are bicycling on the road a refreshing exercise that allows for close-up experiences with wildlife.

We saw a mother fox with three young in tow ,a magnificent picture of family life, the young were bouncing along and playing abundantly showing no fear. We hope that they soon do develop some healthy scepticism and survival instincts.

Red foxes are nocturnal, but it’s not unusual for them to be spotted during the day. They also have exceptional sight, smell and hearing abilities which makes them excellent hunters. Unlike other mammals, the red fox is able to hear low-frequency sounds which help them hunt small animals, even when they’re underground!

For our younger readers: suggest to your teacher to do a project on the Red Fox in Ontario. We will publish your work on this site!

Start with this Canadian Geographic website for a great introduction to most common wild animals in this region, go to: Fact Sheets for the Red Fox and other animals, at: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/kids/animal-facts/red_fox.asp

Have a great spring and summer, enjoy the road.