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Preening

Young Swan Preening

Preening

I made a bit of a beginners error on Saturday morning when I left the house to travel up to London’s Hyde Park. I forgot my main camera! Oops. To be fair I was rather distracted by the prospect of Swimming The Serpentine for charity again (here’s a link to my fundraising page), remembering the wetsuit, goggles, entry tags, swim cap, timing tag and my waterproof camera. So at least I did have ONE camera with me! I didn’t get much from in the water though as it was quite choppy with the huge numbers of swimmers. There were 5000 swimmers over the course of the day, including myself and my mum. Colder than last year, both in and out of the water but nevertheless, absolutely brilliant! The wildlife in Hyde Park is wonderful. A sanctuary for nature and people in the heart of London. Swans are such enigmatic birds and I love swimming alongside them in open water. This youngster was busily preening its’ feathers after the latest rain shower. I was really pleased with how my waterproof Olympus performed for me in capturing this shot! I still WISH I’d had the Sony and Fuji kit there though. I really must try to get up to the park for a purely photographic outing sometime! This black and white edit is my entry for the weekend photography Fotospeed challenge.

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The Ugly Ducklings

The Ugly Ducklings

Daily Prompt: Flip Flop
Photographers, artists, poets: show us TRANSITION.

The story of The Ugly Duckling (a young swan) by Hans Christian Andersen is well-known and loved across the world. Today I went to see how the beautiful cygnets on the Basingstoke Canal in West Byfleet are getting on.

This literary fairy tale is often seen as being a metaphor for personal transformation, in particular the transition from childhood through to adolescence and into adulthood.

This was a story that I very much took to heart as a child as I was badly bullied at school. I was, in some respects, the opposite to the Ugly Duckling being too short and rather sickly.

The story succeeded in helping me to believe that I would eventually transition into that beautiful swan and would find my place in the world.

It’s only when you reach adulthood you realise that the true moral of the story is, perhaps, that this youngster was always beautiful! Maybe I was always beautiful too.

I look at these gorgeous little bundles of silvery down and wonder how anyone could possibly refer to one as being ugly. I have to wonder what it really is that drives one child to bully another, with either name calling or violence.

Times of change, transition can be very hard. Being different, though, is actually completely normal!

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It’s A Jungle Out There!

It's A Jungle Out There!

Daily Prompt: Keep Out
Photographers, artists, poets: show us OUTSIDE.

All of these images were taken today, outside, at Lake Boldermere in Ockham.

Amongst the insects are damselflies, dragonflies, the ringlet butterfly, the large white, the golden skipper, a moth, a wasp beetle and a fantastic spider (I’ve not identified it yet).

The male mute swan came over to look us over but the female kept at a safe distance from us with her cygnets. There are so many moorhen, coots and terns all calling Boldermere their home!

We had to watch our step, as we circled the lake, for hundreds of tiny frogs among the ground-covering plants at the water’s edge.

I urge everyone to get OUTSIDE and see what you can find!

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Vainglorious Cob

Vainglorious Cob

The Mute Swans on the canal are full of pomp at the moment. Hopefully the pair I watched today will be preparing their nest soon!

They would normally breed and lay their eggs sometime between March and May.

I shall keep an eye on them over the next few months and see if they do manage to raise a clutch. It would be quite lovely to photograph the whole family growing up.

Although the cob here was very puffed up and showing off he wasn’t in any way aggressive, so perhaps he’ll let me close enough to get some nice images of the cygnets.