Day 30 – today’s colours, the greenish tinge of water and black plumage with a slash of red…
I have been wanting to write a slice about swans all month, but I needed some decent photos. Today I spotted a pair in a large pond just inland from the river (which of course is called the Swan River). Council workers were mowing the grass with loud noisy machinery. The swans moved into the centre of the pond. I hoped fervently they wouldn’t fly away.
On my way back, they were still there. The workers had finished and were standing by their machines. I walked down around the pond and the swans… just looked back at me. I was enchanted. I am not a fan of fairy tales but The Ugly Duckling was always my favourite. There is just something so graceful and solemn about these gorgeous birds and the way they move on water. I used to enjoy watching white swans growing up in England, but black swans are a step up in the elegance stakes.
Close up, I was able to see for the first time, that they are not totally black like a crow, but all these subtle shades of brown, sienna, umber and cream. Their feather patterns are exquisite.
The photos took quite a while to take because swans tend to preen their plumage a lot or plunge their heads underwater in their search for food. These ones were continually nibbling on the green algae below the surface around the edge of the pond. Without the full curve of those supremely elegant necks, they are not quite so photogenic.
Black swans are native to Australia and in particular to Western Australia (where I live currently). They have a river named after them and are the state national bird and also feature on the state flag and its coat of arms. They are definitely not endangered and are always close to water. On land they are a lot less regal. Like all swans they mate for life and both take care of their young.
This is my swansong :
Over the water
Your neck graceful poised
The lustre of ebony feathers
Your beak ruby red
Skim the surface