Mute Swan Family on the Tuolumne River (and Swans in Europe)
There is a lake across from the Tuolumne Parkway Trail in Waterford that once served as a gravel pit or gold dredging pond. It's kept full by groundwater seepage, and is more or less inaccessible. There are two rich-looking estates along the shores. A few weeks ago, Mrs. Geotripper noticed that two swans were in residence, and photographs with the long zoom revealed that the swans had cygnets. They didn't get mentioned on the blog because at that distance, the pictures were a bit fuzzy. They were Mute Swans (Cygnus olor), and they are not native to North America. They are European, and they were brought to the continent in the 1800s to grace the palatial estates that were built in the image of the Old World architecture. The swans have done very well in urban environments, but can be a real problem at times with a voracious appetite and aggressive nature that can be a detriment to native species (not to mention kayakers and swimmers).
This morning I took a quick walk along the river trail and saw that the swans had come off the lake and were floating in the river itself, in a spot where I could get some pictures (if I didn't mind crawling through some willows, which I didn't). There were both adults (the species is monogamous), and four cygnets. They were a pretty sight!
Just because I saw this today on Twitter, I had to add in a picture from the flooded streets of Worcester, England, where the swans are native (courtesy of Weird History).