Below is a video produced by Steve Fitzpatrick and Steve Weinrib of Camelot Lakes in April 2016. This work explains, now that we are at "full population level" for Longboat Key, how we plan to keep it that way as well as plans for sharing our knowledge by carefully and selectively spreading the harboring of swans, a la Camelot Lakes, so other communities can experience what we have. Enjoy!
The male pair from Susie and Sully's 2016 nest were placed in the Mennonite community at Sunnyside Village in Sarasota. See the Diary pages for more information on this event.
It's widely known in classical circles that swans inspire art, music, and dance. For the life of me, I do not understand why, but I do accept that artistic people can elevate the ordinary into perpetual, endearing forms. Those forms can intertwine with the result being greater than their sum as evidenced by Yo Yo Ma and Lil Buck.
Hitting the Links
Bubba and Phil (aka Lefty) eagerly await their unwrapping, hoping to scoot right into the waters between the North entrance of Bay Isles and the Harbourside Clubhouse. Later, Bubba was recaptured for a removing his re-grown flight feathers, and then reintroduced to his brother Phil who, at seven months of age, went through two surgeries for repairing his left wing. The proud parents are the late Stan and his mate Wendy, who now resides on the Islandside course with Bebe, sister of these two.
No Room At The Colony
Following her placement on the Islandside Course, Wendy decided to walk across Club Road and check out what the beachfront condos were all about. Actually, the environment was pretty harsh and while her choice of beach was pretty good, the Colony Resort had long been closed to tourists. It was an easy capture as Wendy could not get any traction in the sand. So it was a trip to the vet and later a return to her Golf Course digs.
Wendy Becomes A Single Mom
With the illness and demise of her mate Stan, Wendy was tasked with raising her three cygnets. They two grey ones are "English Mute Swans" or "Royals". They will molt and be all white at one year of age. Read about this episode on the News Diary Page.
Plenty Comes To Islandside
With the two breeding pairs on Harbourside, there's plenty of opportunities to view the swans doing their graceful maneuvers all year round. But with the addition of a third female pair to Islandside, we just may now have parity.
Lacy and Sylvia are from the 2014 nest of Stan and Wendy. Lacy is named after my 15 year old Bichon Frise. A dog, yes. But a dog I'm certainly proud of, one who has a 10-year Pin from the Humane Society and Plymouth Harbor for over 500 visits to the Skilled Nursing Facility. That's some high expectations for Lacy the swan, and I hope she will provide pleasure for all those traversing the fairways, passing by, or watching from Spike n Tees.
Sylvia, as is the case other swans, is a composite honoring all our canine pets. Sylvia is actually a play that was performed at Florida Studio Theatre. Sylvia is a person who featured her dogs in real estate ads. Sylvia is a representative of our much loved pets such as Maggie, Zoe, Racket, Missy, Katie and many more who provide us empty-nesters with a reason to get up with the sun and take a walk in the grass. Swans are wild, remote, yet so beautiful they are our pets in our minds. Dogs we can touch, pet and get licks from.
Leave, Then Return With A Name and Real Estate
The trauma of being captured is somehow all forgiven when you return to Longboat Key where you have real estate and people know your name!
The four 2014 cygnets of Sully and Susie only had each other to console. Penned for a visit from the veterinarian, they gave blood then had to wait for gender identity results. And as luck would have it, two females and two males were soon on their way back, tucked in a formal carrier, and starting a new life as young adults.
Meg and Lily on Islandside:
Tut and Chesty on Harbourside
Below is a link to a video produced by the Longboat Observer. There is a long and valued relationship with the newspaper, and when I offered to "embed" a reporter in the process of capturing 20+ pound wild and flailing cygnets, Alex somehow volunteered. Click on the link and enjoy!
Observer: Capturing In The Wild
OK, the four cygnets of Sully and Susie are ready for their holding pen where an avian veterinarian will draw blood for DNA analysis to determine gender. At this young age, their reproductive attributes are not sufficiently developed to tell a male from a female. An experienced observer can make an educated guess based on behavior, but that's not good enough when pairing requires certainty.
Given the chaos and casualties of emptying the nest, a bit of human intervention can be applied to humanely remove the cygnets before bad things happen. Agile volunteers, golf carts, and canoes make a difficult task less so. Above, Ken and Scott have a cygnet calm and secure, looking quite spiffy and ready to join its siblings.
And they grow where in December, at six months of age, all are over 20 pounds and hard to distinguish from the parents. Note the orange bill on the two parents. At this age, the parents begin to distance themselves, first by chasing away the cygnets at feeding time. Soon, the male cygnets are kept out of the family circle followed in a few weeks by the females. In January, the distancing becomes downright hostile and any cygnets in the territory will be attacked and chased out.
If there was any doubt how LBK residents value the swans, here are the four cygnets of Sully and Susie being guided back to their waters by a motorist who exited his car, stopped traffic, and pointed the way to safety. Though very small here, the cygnets grow rapidly so residents will stop numerous times to check their progress and bring back photos to show others.
A fold-up playpen serves as a Pediatric Waiting Room as cygnets await the call of "NEXT" from Dr. Geoffrey Gardner. This was a traumatic event for both the cygnets and parents, but a necessary one. Time is critical as parents may reject their own if they sense anything "wrong". Stan accepted them at dusk for Wendy, who opted to hide for her own protection. Susie and Sully could not be located due to darkness, so the cygnets were kept warm and safe overnight. The parents were there to welcome the brood back just before sunrise the next morning.
John Schneier and Pat Shaffer used their athleticism and bravado to quickly capture the one week old cygnets of Sully and Susie. Awaiting the cygnets was Dr. Geoffrey Gardner, swan veterinarian from Lakeland, who has been the swans' "pediatrician" since 2009. Each cygnet had a microchip implanted for identification purposes and had blood drawn for DNA testing to determine gender.
Bob and Susan Coyne were tickled pink when namesake Susie scraped enough grass together for a nest in a sandtrap next to the green at Red#2. Here Bob visits the nest prior to leaving for the Massachusetts summer, later finding out that 4 of the 5 eggs resulted in beautiful baby cygnets.
Eric Bors-Koefoed from Camelot Lakes in Sarasota, holds Nik and Bello before placing them in the waterway just west of the Harbourside Clubhouse. They were 2013 cygnets from Stan and Wendy, named after local circus notables Nik Wallenda and Bello Nock. The two are the first male pair to be introduced to Harbourside and much will be learned over time such as protectiveness and long term compatibility.
Introducing a swan to a new environment is a gradual process. From a custom-built enclosure at Camelot Lakes, Eric Bors-Koefoed releases a juvenile from Stan and Wendy's 2013 brood. While the swan was hyper-excited to flee, the enclosure contains a feeder and a comfortable "pad" with shade and protection from predators. This juvenile and its sibling/mate may also use it for nesting 3 years from now. Camelot Lakes is equipped for and committed to responsible breeding and care.