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Along the Lakeshore: frozen pipes; pesky swans

Niagara Mohawk was the utility at that time and they dug up all the old pipe connections and repaired the joints so it was not a leaker, hence the square patches in the pavement. A big job but better than a big blowup. Water main breaks in the winter usually do not harm customers’ lives.

I was asked about the presence of mute swans on Skaneateles Lake relative to the DEC plan to limit them over a period of time. I once saw mute swans on my beach in March or early April. There was a group of four or five who had obviously migrated but I don’t know exactly from which direction. They stayed around for two or three days and I took a picture of a lovey-dovey couple which I have on the wall in my dining room.

They’re very prevalent Narragansett Bay in the Connecticut coast. They do damage to the tidal marsh growth as they pull out grass plants for food. They are managed in these areas by oiling the eggs which is nondestructive to living birds but slows down explosive growth. They do not have many natural enemies. The same technique is used to slow down the cormorants on Lake Ontario and Oneida Lake.

The outdoor writer for The Post-Standard has a piece in the Feb. 27 paper stating that the DEC’s Commissioner Joe Martins has taken a lot of heat about the swan extermination.

It is my opinion that the population is only about 2,500 in the whole state of New York but I know that where there is a large population they can be a problem.

My son lives near the Barn Island Nature Reserve in Stonington, Connecticut which has a very good boat ramp with a good-sized trailer parking area. I was on the ramp one day in the fall when a giant male mute swan decided I was infringing on his turf and walked towards me with his head (about the size of a softball) swaying back and forth with his steps. It sat on top a long neck and I totally understood that I should find a different neighborhood or he might just bash me with said head. A child might be injured by such a bash not understanding the possible harm from a Marine King of the roost.

Joseph Spalding is a long-time Skaneateles resident who enjoys sharing his observations about the Skaneateles lakeshore and community. He can be reached at 685-6937.

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