Precious and Marlika

 

 

Meet the Swans: Precious/Marlika | Papa/Mama | Boy | Lady | Boulika | Tristan | Brothers

 

On this page: Mrs. P | Looking for Mrs. P | New Mate Marlika | Son Marlow | Grandson Tweety

 

The latest about Precious:

 

Summer 2006: Precious and his mate Marlika have a son called "Junior" (to be renamed soon - see naming contest). After a period of looking for his former mate Lady all around the Lagoon and mourning after her death on January 5, Precious mated again with Marlika, taking her away from Boy who has been alone since.

 

 

Try the 20-Question Quiz about Precious

 

Precious, approximately 11 years old, is King-of-the-Lagoon - "the boss" of the other swans, without a doubt. His new mate is Marlika.

 

Precious is extremely strong physically and psychologically, afraid of nothing, and loves nothing better than to race across the water in hot pursuit of one, two or three other swans until he’s assured that they’re back in their own territory. He then glides back, head held high, wings fluffed up with pride, only to repeat the operation if the culprits should try to ease back into his space – which they usually do!

 

 

Precious surveying his kingdom

 

 

Precious with his wings up: "Don't come close to my food!"

 

   

Certainly chasing someone else... So much to prove!

 

Precious, on the right, wings up, chasing another swan.

 

Although Precious likes to assert his supremacy, he also has friends, starting with the only one he really obeys: The Swan Lady.

 

Precious also likes to arm wrestle with his friend Stephen. Stephen normally waits for Precious, sitting patiently near the water. When Precious is in a playing mode, he goes to Stephen and starts picking at Stephen's hands.

 

When he is on the ground, Precious also picks at the clothes of another male friend and frequent visitor to the Lagoon, pulling quite hard at his friend's jacket, dozens of times in a row as if to mean "Stop me if you can".

 

Precious, in his characteristic "I am the greatest" posture.

 

Mrs. P: The female swan to the left is his long-time former mate Mrs. P (as in "Mrs. Precious") who died around Easter of 2005. She was very easy to identify because she had been attacked by an off-leash dog while sitting on her nest, many years ago and was left with one eye permanently open and a scar that went from the top of her head, through her eye, and to her bill.

 

In this Spring 2005 picture, Precious is seen patrolling the Lagoon back and forth, looking for Mrs. P.

 

For those who have been visiting these swans on a regular basis for many years, this picture is very poignant because we know how close Precious and Mrs. P were. They were the closest mates through all their adventures in Lost Lagoon over a period of 6 to 7 years. They were the King and the Queen of the Lagoon, making it clear to all and sundry that the North-West part of Lagoon was theirs.

 

This is Marlow, Marlika's first mate and father of Tweety.

 

Marlow: Marlow (aka Rambo) became ill - heart worms and E.coli - and died in the Spring of 2005, a sad event for his friends of the Lagoon. Marlow was very friendly and would often "talk" for long periods with the Swan Lady (who is the one who named him Marlow), repeatedly lifting his head close to her face and making throat sounds that give “voice” to the otherwise silent swans.

 

He was also known to “arm wrestle” with this photographer.

 

Marlow was the son of Precious and he had the same "take-no-prisoners" character as his father. Sometime in the course of the 2001-2003 breeding seasons, he usurped Precious’ title of “King of the Lagoon”; but Precious regained his strength and was able to dominate the Lagoon again, up to this day (Oct. 2005).

 

 

Marlow and Marlika planning their nest, Spring 2005

 

Marlika: Marlika was the mate of the late Marlow. She was named Marlika by the Swan Lady because her name is a feminine version of Marlow.

 

Even before Marlow died, Precious had already lost his mate, Mrs. P, and had begun to court Marlika. Although these two couples had been fighting for territory for years, Precious’ dominating instinct saw him adopting a young and healthy Marlika as his mate, to continue his rule of the Lagoon.

 

Someone injures Marlika: In the Spring of 2005, as Marlow and Marlika were planning their nest (see picture above), someone threw a large stone (see the 2 pictures below) at Marlika, injuring her knee. When 3 of her friends saw Marlika after the attack, her left leg was at a 90 degree angle from its normal position. Marlika had to be taken to the vet hospital where she remained one week for treatments to her knee. 

 

 

Pictures (above and below) courtesy of J. Carlaw

Notice the large stone on the lower left side of Marlika

 

Marlika became a mother for the first time in the Spring of 2005. You can read the story of her first cygnets on Tweety's page (Tweety is her sole surviving cygnet).

 

Marlika and Tweety.

 

Tweety, son of Marlow, is the grandson of Precious.

 

From incidents taking place at a very young age, while still tweeting and peeping, observers predict that he will have the domineering character of his father and grandfather.

 

Friday Oct 14, 2005: Precious has a roving eye! We had become used to seeing Precious with his newly-adopted mate Marlika but Friday morning’s stroll around the Lagoon brought the surprising sight of Precious nuzzling up to Lady (The Baby) as they sailed blissfully along, following our progress on the shore. Much chatter (as we interpret those gentle noises swan mates make to each other) and even occasional neck-intertwining, as Marlika swam solo in the distance. Are we witnessing a swan soap-opera in the making? Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Stay tuned!

 

Nov. 20, 2005: Our photographer couldn't help but laugh on getting pictures back and seeing documented evidence of the Guilty One (Precious) "shmooooozing" Lady 'till it's a wonder he didn't have neck cramps. He practically twisted himself into a pretzel for a while there (see 2 pictures below). Precious is definitely, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY courting Lady (The Baby). You should have seen them ... people with cameras were all taking pictures like mad, as they touched bills, put necks together and made 'sweet talk' to each other. The two of them then came up on the ground to say 'hello' and were so cute - Precious lifted his head and snorted, played a while - didn't seem to mind my not having goodies for him. Lady chatted as she always does... it was a delight.

 

Nov 20 (above and below): Precious is on the left (with the bigger neck)

 

 

 

Dec 4, 2005: Precious and Lady are now officially an item - They were seen together again in the little bushy area just before the wooden platform. Our photographer went through the bushes and when they saw her, they both hurried up out of the water with various little snorts and head-lifting. They stood on either side of her and started “necking” again!!

 

January 1, 2006: Well, it is confirmed: Precious and Lady are an item. And Marlika (Precious' mate of the second half of 2005) is now with Boy. Which is very good for Boy. We are all very happy for Boy.

 

January 5, 2006: Disaster -  Lady was killed by an off-leash dog.

 

 

20-Question Quiz about Precious

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Photos courtesy of Fiona Sinclair


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