October 26, 2007 in Keepers Log, More Logbook

Black swan

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Last week, I heard reports from visitors of a black swan hanging out in the cove north of the lighthouse. I was skeptical and figured it was probably just an immature, gray swan, so I never bothered to look. Well, two days ago, I saw it fly past with a half-dozen white ones. It was indeed black. Black with white wings. It seems highly improbable, but seeing is believing. Now, the question remained: is it a genetic anomaly of the Mute Swan or is it an exotic, escaped Australian Black Swan? Yesterday evening, I got a look at the black swan while it was swimming in the cove. Wings folded, it appears completely black. The white wings I noticed previously were the underside that I saw when it was flying. Also, I noticed that it kept its neck straight upright, not curved like the mute swans it is hanging out with, which suggests that it’s another species. This morning, I got an even better look at it this morning through a scope. It has a reddish bill with a distinctive white mark near the tip. I’m betting it’s the Australian Black Swan, Cygnus atratus–introduced from down-under and escaped into the wild.

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