Meet the Swans: Precious/Marlika | Papa/Mama | Boy | Lady | Boulika | Tristan | Brothers



The latest about Boy (May 2007):


Boy, our venerable and much cherished old swan of some 16 years, is a little more sedate than in his heyday, but that doesn’t mean he’s given up the delights of chasing the “youngsters” and sailing in style around the lagoon. He also enjoys quiet time in shady coves where he can preen and have a siesta, undetected by swans that might claim his special spot. 


Boy has received glucosamine chondroitin with MSM every 24 hours for over a year, and has clearly benefited from the treatment. The once-stiff senior who limped when walking and had slowed down a great deal can now run with the best of them (especially when being chased by Precious!) and has gained freedom of movement he never had.




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Boy has his own unique personality, and one more feature that makes him stand out from all but one other: his feet are pink rather than black. Boy is a rare "Polish Mute" strain due to a recessive gene. Mama Swan is the other.


In winter 2005, Precious (“the king”) had taken up with 3-year old Lady, leaving his “-ex” Marlika, to Boy.  




Pictures of Boy with Marlika, Jan 1, 2006 (above and below). Boy is on the left






With Lady’s death in January 2006, Precious was once again on his own but not for long! He went right out there and stole Marlika back, from under Boy’s nose ….er… bill.


Nature won out as Marlika sensed that Precious, the strongest, dominant swan, would be more likely to ensure fertilized eggs and be a good defender of nest and cygnets. Off she went without a second thought, even snapping at Boy as he lurked behind her in the water for a couple of days..



Precious (front) and Marlika



Not surprisingly 15-year-old Boy became VERY cranky as the days led to mating and nesting time, and he was strictly on his own. Who could he beat up? Not Papa Swan, second only to Precious, nor Genghis Swan – newer, but incredibly aggressive. Ah! Tristan - the lowest figure on the Swan Totem Pole. So he spent part of each day pursuing “Tweety” around the lagoon; however, the latter being much younger and faster than Boy, actual encounters were few and far between.


Poor old Boy, spending the rest of the day at the northeast end of the shore 

in a clump of reeds, where he created his makeshift ‘nest for one.’



Ensuing months saw Bijan (Precious and Marlika’s cygnet) grow to a fine young swan, and the addition of Isolde (now Tristan’s mate) and in September, the four “Ambleside Kids” (a.k.a. “The Teddies”) arrived at Lost Lagoon


With the addition of these lively young birds, Boy was in swan-paradise, especially when the two dominant males (Precious and Papa Swan) are occupied at nesting time, leaving our proud senior to chase the youngsters to his heart’s content. 


Far out in the lagoon, you could easily mistake him for Precious - wings up, chugging along after Tristan, Bijan or one of the teddies. The chase starts out with Boy making a mad grab for whatever he can latch onto from a youngster's rear-end - usually nothing, because the young swan makes a quick getaway. Still, there's much splashing and the chase is on! Pushing out into deeper water, pedaling fast as they can. Then, a gradual slowdown by both, and finally a full stop - with Boy deciding to have a quick preen and the youngster ducking his neck into the water for some newfound goodies, and all is calm again. Visitors sometimes think it's a serious attack when they see the water being churned up, but if they come often enough, they soon discover it's mostly for show.



Boy Chasing one of the Ambleside Kids



Incredibly, Boy likes to “hang out” with these same youngsters in quieter moments, and they can all often be seen floating in a group on a fine day, preening and dozing together..


And on a lovely summer evening, Boy glides across the water in the last rays of the setting sun, a tribute to Nature’s beauty.



Boy in the evening sun



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Photos courtesy of Fiona Sinclair

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