Thursday, October 25, 2012

Majestic Swans

We took many day trips this past summer, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it’s been, and how many delightful sights I’ve captured through my camera lens. When you stop to look around, really stop, you discover a world filled with beautiful and miraculous things. And we certainly need some of that amidst the ugliness that humans bring to this planet.

Anyway...

One of the loveliest sights in the summer was the swans in the photos below.

One happy photographer!

I was glued to this spot for quite awhile.
Unbelievably, until this moment, I’d never seen swans in person. It’s true, so you can imagine my delight when we spotted this couple.



Swans are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks, both of which there is no shortage of in my city.



Swans usually mate for life, though 'divorce' does occur at times, particularly when nesting fails.



Swan nests are about a metre wide and are built on land near the water with leaves and twigs. Unlike some of their cousins, male swans help with the construction of the nest. They also aid in the incubation of the 3 to 8 eggs that the female lays.



The nests are aggressively protected by the parents. One man drowned after being attacked by a swan that probably felt threatened by his presence near its nest.



Baby swans, known as cygnets, hatch out of their eggs in just over a month, and are often on the water with their mother within a couple of days. They stay close to her for protection and warmth, and mama swan guards her babies with a vengeance against any animal that she believes is a threat.



In addition to being known as cygnets, young swans are also called swanlings. An adult male is a cob, and an adult female is a pen.

Isn't this just a beautiful bird?


Swans feed in the water and on land. They are almost entirely herbivorous, although they may eat small amounts of aquatic animals. In the water, food is obtained by up-ending or dabbling, and their diet is composed of the roots, tubers, stems and leaves of aquatic and submerged plants.



In a protected environment, swans can live up to thirty years or longer, but typically live less than ten years in the wild.



I waited very patiently for one of the swans to do this for me!
Is there a creature more graceful and lovelier than a swan? They are a reminder of everything that’s right in this world, and have inspired music, art, dance and literature. And, of course, this photographer. I am grateful for this moment.

14 comments:

  1. Great photos, Martha. Swans are beautiful creatures, but yes, they can be ferocious if they sense a threat. I prefer swanling to cygnet, sounds much cuter!

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    1. Thanks, Sulky. I also prefer swanling. Cygnet sounds kind of cold for such a beautiful creature.

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  2. Lovely series of photos. I too, love photographing the swans.

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    1. Thanks, Crafty. I am so pleased to have had a chance to see and photograph these gorgeous birds.

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  3. Oh Martha! What a great series! Swans are elegant creatures and I had heard that you should not go near them while nesting. What a good job you did on this post.

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    1. I had no idea until recently just how strongly they defend their nests and their young. They get mean, mean, mean! Don't mess with them :)

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  4. I agree...the swan is graceful and lovely creature in this world...Beautiful shots...

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  5. Well, after reading about that drowning I will look at swans in a whole new light.
    They sure are gorgeous...

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    1. Yup, I'm looking at them differently, too. I guess they're just trying to defend their babies.

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  6. Aren't they just lovely! I'm afraid of them, they are so aggresive but I really think they are majestic. And your pictures are beautifyul. How I cried over the story of the ugly duckling when I was a kid though. Ha ha.

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    1. I think they're only aggressive when they feel threatened, especially where their young are concerned. Can't say I blame them! I also cried over the story of the ugly duckling when I was a kid. I still remember that very well!

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  7. Great post! The photos of the swans in front of the water falls are just gorgeous! They are such magnificent creatures!

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    1. Thank you! I had so much fun photographing them, especially because it was my first time seeing them in person. You can imagine just how excited I was about that!

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