Swan Man

He walks the riverside track daily accompanied by his best friend Bailey. The conversation can seem very one sided at times as Bailey is a dog of few words, but he often barks his agreement to suggestions of “walk”, “peanut butter” and “biscuits”! And he’s constantly laughing face expresses his joy in his life. A simple life that many could learn from! They walk many routes together and enjoy their time chatting and commenting on all nature’s wonders around them. Together they’ve spotted many other birds and animals and interacted with them on various levels, but their favourites pals are Mr and Mrs Swan. At the moment the Swan family are nesting on six eggs. The man is hopeful they’ll get the rear them this year. Last year they had seven cygnets but only 1 survived to adulthood he believes, one day he was swimming with his parents up along the river (an unusually long way from home that day) and the next day he was gone. The man has read that parents chase the grown cygnet away when they feel he’s ready to leave. The year before they had three cygnets and none survived to adulthood. And the year before that none survived from the nest. A tough life to be sure! Bailey and the man feed the Swan family most days. You can hear the shouts of “Here Mrs Swan, Here Mr Swan” and echoes of “Here Swanee, Swanee, Swanee, Swanee” as they approach the nesting and swimming/ cleaning area. Sure enough one will be on the nest and the other will be out foraging nearby. When they hear the voices and spot the duo the race starts. The swan on the nest slowly rises, packs in some bedding around the eggs and quickly makes their way to the far bank where Bailey and the man stand patiently shaking the bag of bread for attention. The other swan will come racing up either flying or paddling rapidly depending on hunger and distance away from the swimming zone. The man starts breaking up bread, two pieces for each swan and a piece for Bailey, then three pieces for each swan and a piece for Bailey. If Bailey feels slighted and moves in for more the bread the hissing starts as if you say “Back off boy!! This is mine!!”. And Bailey backs off. The swans will eat as if they’re starving and the minute, they’ve had their fill they resume sitting on the nest or venture back to the swimming/ cleaning area. Bailey and the man walk on eventually after telling the swans that they’ll be back tomorrow with more. The swans respond with a bow and gracefully let them leave.
The duo are determined to get their daily steps in. Baileys steps are usually twice the man’s steps because all the smells have to be checked and re checked and then once more to be sure to be sure and then marked! On they stride and turn at the bend in the river hoping on the return journey the swans won’t spot them because the bread is all gone but the swans won’t believe them when they say that!