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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