Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Sunday, 3 May 2009

A mystery

But a bit more of that later.

Started off a sunny day, and I was up way too early for any sensible sort of person, so I went over to Willen; local number two. The car park was pretty full, as I pulled in there. Six a.m., and so many cars. Must be more daft people around than I thought.
Then it dawned on me, it’s dawn chorus day. I was going out for this, but totally forgot. Perhaps this lot had come for the chorus here?

I made my way to the south lake, to check on the nesting swans, and the House Martins.

The black and white Swans were still together, having a cuddle. Then they both gave me a romantic pose, before I left them to it.

I got to the where the House Martins were nesting, but they were all out over the lake getting some breakfast, so I slowly made my way back towards the hide. Then I noticed the Black Swan, having a leisurely swim.

He got here quick.’ I thought to myself. I stopped to take some pictures while he had a quick wash and brush up.

Moving on, I spotted a rather large duck, making his way to the lake edge.

He looked like some sort of Mallard, but much bigger. More the size of a goose. Not sure what he was, but quite handsome nonetheless.
A group of people were ambling towards me; must be the crowd from the cars, on a dawn chorus walk.
Morning’, I said.
A grunt was all I received.

Miserable buggers’, I thought.

As I turned the edge of the lake, I could hear a Sedge Warbler in full song. Straining eyes and ears, I caught a glimpse of him, buried in the bushes and brambles.

Just ahead, a Song Thrush flew into the bushes to join him, but not quite so buried.

apart from the twig in front of him.

A Swan flew overhead, so a quick burst from the shutter,

and a Willow Warbler was high in a tree, singing.

Another quick burst.

I was now back at the Swans nest, and the Black one had joined his mate. I hadn’t noticed him fly back, and he’d have to be an Olympic swimmer to have got there that fast. Maybe there’s two?

I carried on, more Sedge Warblers singing

still hiding in the reeds; and a Long Tailed Tit flew down to see what I was doing.

I got back to the hide, just in time to catch a fleeting glimpse of the Cetti’s Warbler, as he flew into some bushes, and began shouting to the world.
One day I’ll get your picture.’ I thought to myself.

Over on the island amongst the Canada Geese, was the lone Barnacle Goose, and more Swans nesting on the shore. The Herons were still visible on their nests in the trees, and three Common Terns were swooping over the lake.

As I left the hide, a Chiffchaff sang from a tree, long enough for a couple of pictures.

Then home.

But the mystery.

When I got home, I was looking through the pictures I’d taken, and was still thinking about the speedy Black Swan. How did he manage to get so far round the lake, so quickly? Was there two? I cropped in on a couple of shots of his beak, to see if there were any differences.

The first one is when I first saw him on the nest

Marks, and maybe dirt.

Next one is while he was washing, further along the lake.

Looks clean to me, and the ‘red’ by the eye looks broader, and shorter.

The last one, is back at the nest.

Certainly looks different to me.

So maybe Willen now has two Black Swans?


  1. ah if they were miserable buggers they must be proper birders.

    some super photos there

  2. The duck in the photo is a Rouen, a farm duck. I would agree that there could be two black swans!

  3. Pete, I think you could be right, a couple of them even had binoculars. lol

  4. Cheers for the ID Chris. Maybe an escapee. First time I've seen him round here.
    I'm quite excited at the prospect of having 2 Black Swans here. Only ever been one for the last 10 years or more.

  5. Stunning photos. I find so much inspiration by looking at your work.

    Really, very beautiful.

    Sadly, the only bird I know is the Robin, so I can't shed any light on your mystery, but I most certainly appreciate your photos. :)

  6. Jen, thanks very much for those kind words. It's a good feling when other people enjoy the pictures I enjoy taking so much.

  7. Great set of photos again. I always like to see birds doing something, preening, flying, singing, eating. Makes them seem more real somehow.
    Seeing the Long Tailed Tit has reminded me I haven't seen any here for a few weeks now.
    As for the Swan(s) I can't make my mind up - the main difference seems to be the red near the eye. Maybe one day you will see both at the same time.

  8. A great outing you had!...I cant tell for the life of me if the swans are the same or different..the only way to know for sure is to see both of them at the same time! The photos are awesome!

  9. To capture that warm moment between 2 swans is just wonderful! Excellent! I love your series of photos and got a chuckle out you mentioning the other "buggers" response when you said good morning. I would've said a cheery good morning right back at ya!

  10. Impressive detective work, HM, and excellent photos as usual - my favourite is that first Sedge Warbler, 'The Glimpse', full of the atmosphere of the moment.

  11. The Black Swan mystery deepens Keith.
    Brilliant Chiffchaff images.

  12. John......Thank you. I agree, always better if you can capture them going about their daily lives. My garden Long Tailed Tits left some time ago now; from 9 to 0 in a day. Looking forward to their return sometime. The Swan mystery still remains till like you say, both side by side; but I'm pretty sure it's two, going by the worn beak, and the red near the eye. I'll keep watching. :)

    Dixxie......Thank you. More detective work needed I think. Work beckons now, so outings limited slightly.

    Shellmo.....Thanks. Most people say 'hello' when I'm out; some even chat a while. They must have been suffering from that terrible 'British Reserve', or felt embarrassed to be seen talking to a long haired bloke. lol

    Rob.....Thank you. That Sedge Warbler required me almost standing in the lake to get that. He insisted on hiding behind and in the bushes.

    Roy......Thanks for your comment. I'm determined to get to the bottom of the Swan mystery. :)

  13. ...very fun post and beautiful photos. The swans look so peaceful and content, I really like your capture, and that little Long Tailed Tit is adorable! Love the Sedge Warbler series (especially the one where he's buried in the bushes!).

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  15. Some stunning pictures as usual Keith. The Sedge Warbler series is really special as are the Chiffchaffs and the pics of the LTTs - not easy birds to capture.

    I'm inclined to agree about the width of the red under the eye of the swans but it's not always easy to tell from pics.

  16. Kelly...Thank you. The Long Tailed Tits remind me of little teddy bears on a stick, and don't keep still for very long. The Sedge Warblers are being a bit secretive at the moment, but makes it more challenging at times. :)

    Tricia....Thank you. I'm going to have to try and get the Swans together, if there is two. It would be great if there are a pair of them.
    Those Long Tailed Tits are quite lively aint they. :)

  17. It's pretty amazing that you made all this shots during a single outdoor trip. However a nice series. Regarding the mystery - there could be probably two black swans.

  18. Thanks Andor. Some days I do take rather a lot of shots when I'm out. I'd hate to miss something. ;)
    Not all are kept though; thank goodness for digital.
    The more I think about the swan, the more I'm convinced there are two.

  19. Another exellent series and another great story to enjoy. Thanks Keith !

  20. another excellent work of art Keith! congrautlations!....i love the swans as if they are really posing in your cam.

  21. Never any excuse for rudeness, it doesn't cost anything to say hello, miserable b's indeed!

    Beautiful photos again Keith, no help on the swans I'm afraid but it will be interesting to find out. I was going to pick out the photos I loved the most but they are all so lovely that I found it impossible to single any out.

    That 'farm' duck is a strange looking creature it looks like its head should be on a different body!

  22. Nick....Thank you, glad you enjoyed it mate.

    lolit....Thanks. Appreciate your comment.

    ShySongbird.....Thank you. Always good to know that others enjoy the pictures.
    That Duck certainly was a monster. lol