A trio of black swans rarely seen in Southern California was spotted at Woodbridge Lake in Irvine on August 15, 2020. (Courtesy photo of Marc Alexander)
Marc Alexander has been taking daily walks around Woodbridge Lake in Irvine for more than 25 years – but the sight he recently documented was a first.
A trio of black swans, rarely seen in Southern California, hung by the lake, telling passers-by to stop, take photos, and marvel at the exotic birds.
“I think seeing three beautiful black swans was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.
The sight happened on the morning of August 15th and aroused Alexander’s curiosity about the origins of the birds. He tried to find the species in an app called Merlin Bird ID, but it got no results.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a nonprofit that responded to Alexander’s inquiries, the black swans are from Australia and Tasmania.
“Black swans are sometimes kept as pet birds by private breeders, aviaries, and estates, but if these were in a public park it wouldn’t hurt to let the California Department of Fish and Wildlife know about them,” according to a public information specialist for the Cornell -Lab wrote in an answer.
Although rarely seen in Southern California, sightings have been documented. In February 2019, two black swans were spotted on Balboa Island and another pair in Rainbow Harbor off Long Beach in May 2019.
For Alexander, who seeks shelter and only walks near his home during the coronavirsus pandemic, it has been a nice break from the monotony.
“One more thing you can do about the pandemic is use the outdoors,” he said. “You can take advantage of and forget about the pandemic that is weighing on all of our shoulders.”