Two dozen ducks reside at the north end of the Brighton millpond. They are a lively lot of vigorous ducks. Their gleeful greeting as I approach tells me a band of hardy humans make frequent food drops during the lean winter months.
Within the past week, a pair of mute swans have joined the party as the ice recedes. Whether they are the 2010 resident swans (or related to them) is a mystery. As winter approached last fall, one of the childless pair disappeared while the other stayed and called out for several weeks until the ice closed their swimming hole.
While they are graceful additions to the scene, they aren’t welcome compadres. Four times the size of the ducks, they lord over them when dinner is served. They glide to the table and the ducks move a neck-length away from them because, if they are too close, they are reminded who’s in charge (above). The public loves mute swans, an import from Europe more than 100 years ago, but wildlife experts aren’t so enamored. They chase off what are thought to be native nesters like trumpeter swans and loons in the north country.