Thursday, 16 June 2011
Mr & Mrs Swan and family
Well, I won't be beaten! Having complained the other day that swans won't 'pose' for me, I managed to catch quite an attractive grouping of Saltaire's adult pair with their two surviving cygnets. To add to the fun, the adults had their wings up in that elusive posture they sometimes adopt, enjoying - I imagine - the warm sunshine on their backs. I say 'elusive' because in my experience they immediately retract when they spot a camera (or maybe just MY camera!) In this case they hadn't seen me because I was hiding on the bridge above - ha! And although there is a bit of shadow on two of the birds' heads, I managed on the whole not to blow-out the highlights on their feathers. I'll give this one 7 out of 10, which is a big advance on previous attempts!
I was interested in Dianne's comment on my previous swan post that she only sees Black swans in Adelaide. Black swans are only seen here in collections or as escapes. The swans above are our native Mute swans. We also see Whooper swans and Bewick's swans but only overwintering in our estuaries and wetlands; they don't breed here. I have loved these amazing birds ever since I saw the amazing spectacle of hundreds of Whooper swans flying in at dusk, at one of our bird reserves in Cambridgeshire - moving, beautiful and reminiscent of a ballet; one of those lifetime 'must-see' experiences, in my opinion. So strong yet so graceful, swans often mate for life and are celebrated in folklore and myths. But at one time they were bred here for food and were so valued that they were marked by their owners. All unmarked birds were considered to be the property of the Crown.