Black swan = cygnus atratus

This 200-year-old uncredited drawing is probably the first European record of the Australian black swan, locally named mulgos. As this little guy below can tell you black swans are also found in New Zealand and the UK where their aggressiveness is feared to be endangering native birds – and they’re among his neighbors on the beaches that ring Lake Taupo.

Black swans known for their bugle-like call, for usually mating for life, and for aggressively defending their cygnets. I’ve been told that, like geese, these large birds are powerful and can cause injuries at full charge.

A few days after I arrived my mother introduced me to this spot, this friendly duck and the area’s five newest inhabitants. I was lucky – they were all conveniently awake and about despite unseasonably damp and chilly weather.

Suddenly, something happened –

Forget heroics or action photography – I straight out froze when I heard the sound.

Luckily, something kicked in and my trigger finger moved again before my heart did. I never figured out what startled her – she calmed as quickly and inexplicably as she had raged.

Feathers were re-ruffled, water droplets settled – and my own mother told me it was time for everyone to go.