Kisses from Rusty (photo credit my husband)

Isn’t he darling? Such a crazy long neck! Rusty is one of William’s sons, from 2012. We had a special love. The young swans must leave the pond before the new brood arrives, each Spring. It’s a bittersweet moment, watching them fly away. I don’t know how far they go. I keep hoping I’ll stumble upon a whole big gathering of my babies (they’re all my babies, even as adults. Some do return to visit. I know I know them, because they come right up next to me. Wild swans I have no previous contact with need to be wooed, from the beginning. Trust is earned, in the wild. Slowly and patiently.) The goose behind me, about to bite my leg, is also a special friend. He lets me pet him (you really shouldn’t. It messes up the oil in their feathers which help maintain warmth and buoyancy. But it was a beautifully warm day and he’s so adorable, and he seemed to enjoy it! The swans do NOT enjoy being touched. How they show affection is by biting. It seems odd and they bite hard, but if they love you, you’ll be bitten (they don’t like gloves either. They want your flesh). I have holes in my muck boots, thanks to William. Kinda defeats the purpose, when the water comes trickling in (lots of people have a big ass lens and shoot from a dry, level place. I wade into the stinky muck water and they come when I call. Even in Winter. It’s a beautiful friendship.