Wednesday, November 2, 2011
You may read all about our thirteenth Litter Mob at the Prospect Park Litter Mob blog. The weather was gorgeous. The condoms were few on the ground.
I was 20 minutes early for the Mob and sidetracked down to the Lullwater to see what I could see. And there I communed with some swans. Which may seem difficult, because they are mute swans. But I have my silent moments, too. Perhaps my best ones are unvoiced.
Cygnus olor may be very beautiful, but mute swans are an invasive species whose environmental impact is being studied in New York State. Some local residents feed these swans and get very hot under the collar about the swans' internal politics.
I saw five swans, two white parents, and three giant, grey ex-cygnets, tailed by a host of mallard ducks. They diverted towards me when they saw me heading for the water's edge, perhaps expecting a snack. When they realized that the human held nothing but a camera they settled matter of factly in the shallows beside me and started to groom. The whole family arched it collective neck and started to ruffle its chest feathers with orange and grey beaks.
I had last seen a swan family here in June, below. I'm not sure if they are the same birds.
I have never been this close to such big birds. I take swans for granted, as a distant piece of prettiness. Up close they felt powerful. I was surprised by how good it felt to be beside them. I expect these birds to be aggressive (I was chased by one in England when I was little), but they were very calm and tolerant. Quite beautiful.