Sunday, November 2, 2008

Swan #787

It isn't often that we hear good news about the environment. If you're paying attention, most of the world is undergoing large-scale man-made disaster. Swan #787 is an exception. Trumpeter Swans are making a comeback in its eastern range. My own Eastern region field guide doesn't even list the Trumpeter Swan, but they really are here. I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with this magnificent creature while walking my dog Dynamo around Musselmans Lake. Lest you think I live in some natural paradise, let me describe the scene. The road is narrow and winding, the traffic is scary, the houses are close and crowded about every scrap of land. There is one parkette with lake access and every other inch of shoreline belongs to someone and gets regularly mown and trampled. It was just such a lawn where I came across Swan #787. I didn't know it at the time as I lack perfect 20/20 vision. Squinting as hard as could, I couldn't make out much beyond a blur of yellow and black plastic attached to one wing. Still, I knew this had to be important information. I knew I couldn't pursue the swans with speed, and, considering I had a dog in tow, I knew stealth was not an option. I tried patience instead. I walked at a leisurely pace along the shoreline ahead of their chosen path, and found a spot on steep embankment where I could sit and wait for them to float by. Dynamo was gloriously co-operative and flopped onto the grass in a casual pose. Patience was rewarded by curiosity from these large graceful avians as Swan #787 floated in giving me a picture perfect view of the entire family. I got some lovely pictures, a beautiful experience, and after having made an official on-line report I have now had a small part to play in the research and tracking of the Trumpeter Swan. Not to mention, I am now on a first name basis with a beautiful swan. I hope to see Swan #787 again.

Image: ACEO 2.5 x 3.5 inch watercolour, watercolour, gouache. This is a good size for a quick illustration while I'm trying to get other things done.


Jennifer Rose said...

I hope you see #787 again soon too. Always great seeing swans in the wild and more so in places you are not supposed to. There are a few here down by the Loch and there use to be a breeding pair in Simcoe, but last time I was there, there was just one. Its mate had been killed so it swims alone now. Well not that alone. The geese never fly south so it has some company :p

kaslkaos said...

I saw #787 again today, with mate & 5 signets, back at the lake, hanging out with the geese, almost the same spot. Sooner or later, they'll need to go for the winter (the lake freezes).
Poor swan, Jennifer. I'm glad it had the geese for company. They must be strongly social animals. Good to know you have some swans at the Loch, too. They are truly beautiful.

Jennifer Rose said...

the swans and geese at the loch are very very territorial. They chase people a lot lol

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your blog via AQ. Looking forward to your next blog entry. Also, thanks for the visit to the lake. Didn't see any swan but it was nice to be by the water on a lovely warm November day. -- Lone R

kaslkaos said...

Lone R, just realized (after peaking at 2 of my letterboxes, couldn't resist) that you came all the way from Guelph to visit my boxes--wow. Thanks!
And now you've visited my blog too--much thanks again.

Chrissy said...

I love your painting...great movement, the one on the left is my favourite, just great movement :-D
swans here in the UK look a little different. but, swans here are protected, they actually belong to the Queen/the Crown and it is illegal to do anything untoward. Hey, they can be mean if they have young, locally we have a Mere and I have seen people run from the swans, LOL. I have a gorgeous photograph taken in the summer, I must do soemthing with it :-D

kaslkaos said...

Hi Chrissy-glad you like the little painting, thank you. We have the Queens Own swans here too. Usually in parks and semi-domestic. The 1st time my husband saw a trumpeter swan (native) he insisted they were very large, very white, very long-necked geese. These guys have just started making a comeback, so they confuse the heck out of a lot of us. If they become a familiar sight, it will be very good news.


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