Swans a-Swimming

When we drive, walk, or bike past the Mill Pond, most of us slow down and glance sideways to see what’s happening. Something always is, though it’s easy to miss if one cruises through at 35 miles an hour — which is way over the speed limit. The return of the swans promises that spring is here to stay, and reminds us that, as Tennyson wrote, “Tho’ much is taken, much abides.”

Last year Bob and Bobette, as the swans are widely known, raised a family. We watched in fascination. We worried when they vanished to parts unknown (possibly nearby Tisbury Great Pond) and rejoiced when they came back. We grieved when a young swan fell victim to one of the snapping turtles that lives in the pond, despite the heroic efforts of our animal control officer to save it.

These photos of 2013’s swan family were taken by Martina Mastromonaco, Chilmark beach superintendent, dedicated Dumptique volunteer, and a wonderful photographer. She moderates three groups on Facebook: “Martha’s Vineyard where are you,” “Where am I on Martha’s Vineyard,” and “Martha’s Vineyard were was I?” Even if you know the Vineyard well, her photos and those of other regular contributors will show you the island from new angles, in different lights.

State Road passes close to the Mill Pond.

State Road passes close to the Mill Pond.


taking off

Note Vineyard Transit Authority bus passing in the background.

Bobette and her brood pay less attention to passersby than passersby pay to them.

Bobette and her brood pay less attention to passersby than passersby pay to them.


swan & cygs 2

cygnet face

swan head

All photographs © 2014 by Martina Mastromonaco

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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8 Responses to Swans a-Swimming

  1. Karen says:

    Beautiful images!


  2. Luanne says:

    How absolutely beautiful!


  3. Martina Mastromonaco says:

    Thank you sooooooooo Much. anytime and thing you just ask. If I dont have it Ill go take it ha ha ha.


  4. Anda Divine says:

    When I was growing up in Minneapolis my mother used to take to me to Loring Park, which was on the southern fringe of downtown. Its pond was even larger than your Mill Pond and it, too, had swans who lived there. I don’t remember seeing baby swans but I did think those adults were beautiful — serene and regal. One afternoon (I was about 4 or 5 years old), Mother was reading a book on a bench near the pond and I was playing alone not far from her. Suddenly one of the swans inexplicably charged at me, huge wings flapping and head and neck extended right at my eye level, hissing fiercely. I was so shocked that I couldn’t move, but Mother lunged up from the bench and got between me and the swan and somehow she chased it off. That was an early life lesson for me: Some things are not as benign as they appear to be. I’ve been uneasy around large birds ever since.


  5. Sharon Stewart says:

    Beautiful photos!


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