Mute Swans

Final swan egg in nest, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Swans in the Flood

Lagoon levels appear to be fluctuating by about six inches, and the QCYC swan nest was probably flooded this morning.  As of Sunday afternoon, the parents appear to be sitting dejected on the QCYC dock.

Islander cycles past sandbags and swan, Algonquin Island, Toronto Islands

Dividing Lines

The male QCYC mute swan just doesn’t see what all this flood fuss is about.

Mute swan in open ice leads, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Mute Horizontals

A mute swan swims through open leads in the ice off of Centre Island.

Mute swans sleeping on ice, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Where’s Waldo?

Mute swans snooze the afternoon away on the snowy ice off of the boardwalk towards Centre Island.

Napping mute swan, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Down Duvet

A mute swan tucks in against the bitter cold of the 2013-14 winter.

Mute swans fighting, Blockhouse Bay, Toronto Islands

Crystal Skies

A mute swan, fighting another male, sprays water far and wide during the struggle.

Mute swan defensive posture, Hanlan's Point, Toronto Islands


A mute swan assumes a defensive posture against the deep shadows of September.

Mute swan portrait, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands

The Nose Knows

Up close and personal with a mute swan near Doughnut Island.  Anything but shy, this fellow eventually swam inside the minimum focus distance of the lens, making further photography impossible.

Nesting mute swan, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands


A mute swan sits on her nest, deep in the shadows of of Snug Harbour.

Mute swan portrait, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Mute Portrait

Dramatic lighting falls upon a mute swan as it swims through the intermittent shadows of late March twilight.

Mute swan outstretched wings, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Show of Force

A male mute swan spreads his wings outside the camera frame after successfully chasing off another pair of swans from his chosen nesting territory in the lagoon. In contrast, this adolescent’s wings are still only partially developed.

Foraging mute swan, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Business End

A mute swan, seen from an unusual angle,  forages on the bottom of the still-desolate lagoon near the edge of what remains of the late spring icepack.  Warmer temperatures should complete iceout over the next few days.

Mute swan, Outer harbour, Toronto Islands

Approaching Storm

A wounded mute swan sits on the ice pack of the outer harbour, waiting as a winter storm approaches.

Mute swan cygnet, Hanlan's Point, Toronto Islands

Cygnet Scale

A protective mother gives scale to her tiny cygnet near Hanlan’s Point.

Swans in moonlight, Outer Harbour, Toronto Islands

Moonrise Swans

Illuminated by the light of the rising full moon, mute swans sleep on black ice halfway across the outer harbour to the Leslie St. Spit.

Juvenile mute swan wings, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands


An adolescent mute swan spreads its wings, still growing and as yet unable to fly.

Mute swan juvenile, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Growin’ Up

A mute swan juvenile learns to feed off of Centre Island.

Mute swan cygnets, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Sibling Asymmetry

Snow-white mute swan cygnets learn to feed off of Snake Island.

Juvenile mute swans, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Bad Hair Day

Mute swan juveniles begin to look a bit ratty as their fur gives way to feathers, just like these Canada geese juveniles.

Feeding mute swan cygnets, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Salad Bar

A mute swan feeds her cygnets by pulling up vegetable matter from the depths, like a floating salad bar.

Mute swan and cygnet, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Size Differential

A mute swan and her cygnet near the Toronto Island Marina show just how much size difference there is between children and parents.

Mute swan on nest, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

Nest Watching II

A mute swan mother sits on a prime nesting site on Long Pond in 2007, rendered uninhabitable in 2008 due to high water levels.

Mute swan closeup, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands

Minimum Focus Distance

A mute swan tests the minimum focus distance of the Canon EF 300mm f/4.0 L IS lens, proving that telephoto lenses can be too long for bird photography.

Mute swan on nest, Doughnut Island, Toronto Islands

Watchful Eye

A nesting mute swan keeps absolute focus on the photographer interloper, eyes locked and never straying from the lens.