Years ago, before Hurricane Agnes came ripping through this area, I was told that one could see dozens (maybe more even) of swans on this river of 'mine'. They came in during the late winter to wait for warmer weather north and ate grasses that grew along the shallow river's edge. Hurricane Agnes pushed salt water deep into shallows for days and all the grasses died that year. Sadly, they never made it back. Then the Dept of Natural Resources, in their infinite wisdom thinking that they can control the planet, spent a few springtimes addeling the eggs and destroying the nests of the few non-indigenous swans (mute swans) that moved in. So, I have a dearth of swans in my land. Therefore we went to the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge on this trip south and managed to see the hundreds of swans gathering before their flight north. We had missed their departure by days, so felt very blessed that cold weather had held them here. (Many of the photos are poor because I was determined not to try to get too close and disturb their rest! Those of you who cannot make this trip with me, and who perhaps will never visit this area in the cold of early spring, will enjoy those blurry photos, I know. The last photo I made into a painting since the clarity was poor.) These are tundra swans and they set up housekeeping in the far north of Canada where they nest and lay three to five eggs each year. Those that are still too young to mate hang out together in various areas in Canada. They nest on the grassy ground and are subject to all sorts of predators, so they are precious to see. Our Canadian friends are probably familiar with them, but for us in the mid-Atlantic they are brief exotic visitors that come by without a castle or princess in the background. Note the yellow patch on the middle swan in the last photo showing his link to the Bewick's swan in Europe.