The mystery of the lone swan

A lone swan
A lone swan

This juvenile swan was flying past a friend and me on the coast the other day and changed direction to fly towards us before veering off to continue on its way.

Most folk would write it off as just a passing swan but immediately I found myself wondering where this youngster had been, where it was going and where were its parents and siblings?

Lone wandering swans are an unusual sight in a species which is so family orientated.

Usually you will see a male and female pair, or a pair with three, four or more juveniles.

To see a lone traveller is definitely unusual.

It is not unknown for swans to fly into power lines or wind turbines, especially in autumn fogs.

Perhaps this juvenile’s family had met with such a tragedy? Of course I will never know this youngster’s story but wish him or her good luck.

Nature is like that, full of mystery and intrigue for those of an enquiring mind.

You may have noticed that a great many of our mute swans wear leg rings thanks to a long-running ringing programme.

This has taught us so much about their life cycle, habits, travels and meeting places.

The mouth of the Esk at Musselburgh is one such place. Maybe my youngster was heading there? Maybe his family were there?

Or maybe a similarly lone juvenile destined to become his future mate?

It would be great to know, but then again, that would take the mystery and magic out of nature.

I would rather just be left wondering.