Friday, May 28, 2010

Striebel Pond Swans

In August of last year, I took a series of pictures of the five swans at Striebel Pond. There was a mating pair and their three offspring.
I, along with many other walkers, runners, and cyclists in the area, watched these swans grow from babies to almost adults and it was heartwarming.

I wasn't sure why, but the pictures I took at the end of October showed a total of four swans. I assumed some predator had gotten one of the youngsters but a runner who spent a lot more time out there last year than I did told me that she was there one day when a dead adult male was removed from the island in the north pond. She said that he had some kind of growth on his foot.

Cut to Spring, 2010. This picture was taken on March 12th. The mating pair appears to be back but as we'll find out later, it's a new male. I also heard that about a month before the Swan/Goose Terror, three swans had tried to move into Striebel Pond and were run out by the new male. The person who told me this felt it was the three young swans from last year trying to come back. This attempted invasion was confirmed by a comment on my Terror at Striebel Pond Series left by someone who obviously spends a lot of time out there. This person said that on April 22nd a male "Mute Swan protected pond from three interloping smaller swans (unknown breed).. Very aggressive at protecting his turf."

And by March 26th, the female and her new Mr. are nesting.

This was an interesting process in itself. Sometimes the male would be right there with the setting female.

Occasionally I saw him on what appeared to be his own nest.

But mostly, while his lady, did the hard work.

He cruised around the pond - probably making sure there were no unwelcome interlopers out there.
Needless to say, everyone watched the swans every day. It seemed to me that they were nesting far too long and I began to wonder if the eggs were sterile.

Then for three nights in a row, the male was always right there within inches of the female on her nest and I wondered if a swan hatching was imminent or even if it might have occurred.

On the third night after they were constantly together, we had a terrible storm. I was up most of the night just watching the weather. There were high winds and torrential rains. The next day when I got to Striebel Pond, the nest was gone. The water was much higher (after all Striebel Pond is really a catch basin for a flood plain) and there were just sticks floating around where there had been a carefully constructed swan nest.

And there at the end of the pond, maybe a little less than a quarter mile from where the nest had been, there was a brand new family.

Of course, I couldn't get too close. The male was very protective but I did want to get close enough so that, with the help of my zoom lens, I could count the young. There were six. Three gray and three white.

It was so heartwarming to see them.

Here they are as of yesterday.

But every since that stormy night, I wonder what kind of drama played out there in the dark, and the wind, and the rain. And I wonder how two adult swans managed to keep those babies together and moved to a safer end of the pond. I guess that proves that they're good at what they do and they have to be. There are predators out there, just waiting for a chance to snack on a baby.

So life goes on at Striebel Pond and I'm one of the lucky people that gets to watch it.


  1. I can't wait go see this place. It sounds wonderful!

  2. Visiting from ToadMama's blog after she mentioned you and the award you gave her...

    Wow the drama of these ponds!

    Your 8th photo down on this post is so beautiful. The contrast, the out of focus grass in the foreground, the blue of the water, and the composition is just perfect. I love it. :)

  3. I didn't realize that swans had such big "litters" We used to have a local pond that was used for swan nesting and they'd have 1 or 2 at a time. So cool you get to watch all of it unfolding!


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