Guess who's having a baby or two - or 6?

... observers watch for public "birthing" up close and personal

from Barbara Leedham

While strolling through the city one day, in the less-than-merry month of April, Melrosian Barbara Leedham spied a large new nest, built on the eastern shore of Ell Pond. Composed of tall dead weedstalks washed ashore, the nest was constructed directly beside the cement staircase up to Main Street. A few hundred vehicles - cars, busses and trucks - drive by hourly - to say nothing of the many walkers, joggers, bicylists and students from both Melrose High School and the Veterans Memorial Middle School, pass by the top of that staircase. Since the incubation began, a steady stream of visitors have marvelled at the mother swan's unflappable devotion amidst all the human activity. Out on the pond, the father swan vigorously guards the nest area, chasing away mallards and Canada geese who approach too closely. As of publication date, the mother swan, pictured here, continues tending several grey eggs. (Six have been counted by an eyewitness who saw the father swan climb up and take his turn squatting on the big nest.)

Photo by Carole Tate

May 7, 2010

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