Black Swan on Barnegat Bay


Paddling our kayak on Barnegat Bay early Sunday morning (8/12/07) we headed for one of the islands to the north of our bungalow. In a channel on the east side, we saw a company of 26 Mute Swans (white with orange bills) swimming in a group, slightly to the north of that group 2 Mute Swans were feeding, in between swam a Black Swan–gorgeous black feathers with bit of white feather on the wing edges and a bright red bill!!!! We stilled our paddles and watched and watched. According to our Sibley’s bird book, Black Swans are an exotic species. They breed in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia (one is depicted on the flag of Western Australia). A prized ornamental waterbird –and it is elegant–Black Swans are found in public and private collections in Europe and the U.S. The one on Barnegat Bay undoubtedly escaped from a public or private collection in the U.S.

We continued paddling around the island and observed 6 adult osprey and 2 or 3 young osprey in a nest built on a wood platform on stilts (the largest number we’ve seen in seven summers). All and all a thrilling journey, except for the green-headed flies that ignored Linda and feasted on me!

Today, we returned to Englewood & took Sophie to the Bronx Zoo (Sophie & her mother are leaving tomorrow to spend a month in Europe visiting family). She surprised me by saying she wanted to ride a camel, so we did–it was fun! Watched several performances by three marvelous actors–Brian, Trevor and Gail who are member of a terrific drama group–Wildlife Theater. We loved their energy, sense of fun, effective environmental lessons, and, of course, their acting and singing.

I’m inching my way forward with shaping the structure of my biography of the friendship between ECS & SBA. Once I get it, I’m thinking I’m going to write in sections instead of starting at the beginning and working my way through to the end. I’ll write in section not necessarily in chronological order. Why? Because I’m curious how that would work & curiosity is a good way to keep me & my writing engaged and fresh.

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