Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spring Lake - Part One

A few days ago Erich and I took a little hike through Spring Lake Park on M-119, really more like a lagoon. We were rewarded with several wildlife encounters which, of course, we photographed.
The resident pair of Mute Swans (Cygnus olor)  came to see us and later were joined by a cygnet! (baby swan). We also found at least a half dozen Snapping Turtle nests which had already harbored many eggs to the hatching point. I've heard rumors that there are so many large turtles in the pond that's the reason we rarely see any cygnets in spite of the fact that a pair of swans can hatch 5-12 cygnets in one season.
An open turtle nest
The male (cob) is extremely territorial and can become very aggressive, even toward humans, as he showed us by hissing, approaching and displaying his impressive wingspan.  The female (pen) was protective, keeping the cygnet close to her.

They eventually realized we had no bread scraps and posed no threat, so they quietly went about their business eating aquatic vegetation and small aquatic animals.

P.S. Upon further investigation I learned that Snappers don't hatch until September so the ravaged nests we discovered must have been found by predators such as skunks, raccoons, or fox.


Dave said...

Awesome! Maddie loved the little cygnet!

wildmary said...

I'm glad you showed it to Maddie. Thanks!