Ignoring the terrified woman’s sobs, the mute swan relentlessly went at their pedal boat, and chased the two women completely off the water.
“I am never, ever going out on this lake again!” she shrieked between sobs, as they beached the two-man boat. They stormed off on foot, leaving the boat deserted for days.
On cold winter days, one of the swans resident on my small lake visited the birdfeeders daily, scooping up seeds dropped by blue jays and cardinals and chickadees. Peaceable co-existence abounded on those cold mornings, and the swan would approach me as I replenished the feeders.
But come spring and nesting season, all bets were off. The swans aggressively chased the geese, preventing them from nesting, and chased the great blue herons away from their feeding grounds. And those two women who paddled too close to the swans’ nest? Someone retrieved their pedal boat days later, but I never saw either of them on the water again.
I was reminded of the swans’ aggressive nature last weekend when I noticed a great blue heron plying the shoreline just west of a nesting swan.
Would the heron continue on its path towards the nest, or detour?
Would the nesting swan assert herself as the heron neared?
Would the swan’s mate swoop in aggressively and banish the interloper?
[Before continuing on with that story, a word about the next image. I can’t take you out with me in the boat, as fun as that might be, so I’ve purposely included it here to give you a taste of what it feels like to be in a floating kayak photographing wildlife on the shore. You can get a sense of the way the waves shift and lift the kayak, and the effort to keep the camera steady and focused on the subjects, swan and heron. It was a little windy that day, and the kayak shimmied left and right and up and down, sometimes all at once. As far as photography goes, there’s a high degree of difficulty in this sort of work. As far as being one with nature, I wouldn’t have it any other way.]
In the following sequence, you can see what happens as the great blue heron approached the swan’s nest.
Did the swan appear alarmed?
If you look closely, you can see that it’s not until the heron has passed by the midpoint of the nest that the swan even sticks up her head, in a subtle movement. While swans are notoriously aggressive birds, and especially protective of their nests, this swan seemed completely at ease with the approaching heron.
I love peaceable co-existence, wherever – and whenever – it manifests.
Thanks to Shane Francescut and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-second Story.
Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Water.
Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for his Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.
A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.
Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™
The Tao of Feathers™
© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Mute Swan
Posted on June 3, 2014, in ardea herodias, Art, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Mute Swan, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wild Bird Wednesday, Wildlife Photography and tagged great blue heron, postaday. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.