Mute Swan Bathing Beauty – Not Exactly Wordless Wednesday Redux

Mute Swan Bathing Beauty - babsjeheron 
 © Babsje (

Mute Swan Bathing Beauty – babsjeheron

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

The Swan, Excerpt.
Mary Oliver,
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

The secret is to stay present always, to not take nature for granted no matter how often we think we are seeing the same old thing.

That Saturday, I was tired, and the journey back to the home dock would take another hour and a half. I had already bagged a fair number of Great Blue Heron photos and was eager to take out.

From a distance, I gave a passing glance at the southern shoreline and saw the usual pair of Mute Swans floating in their usual spot, and so I paddled on.

Rounding the curve below the Natick Labs, coming closer to the Swans, I noticed an odd-looking thrashing and splashing unlike any Swan behavior I’d seen before.

Binoculars up, I sat transfixed, watching from across the channel as one of the Swans took a Saturday bath. Amazing.

Many of us have seen Robins, or Warblers, or other small songbirds splashing about in a backyard garden birdbath. Now, imagine a bird with a 7-to-8 foot wingspan behaving just the same – dunking their head and neck fully below the surface, coming back up to shake off the water, rearing up on legs, wings akimbo flapping and expelling droplets galore, and preening, preening, preening to sort out feathers. The Swan’s bath lasted more than 15 minutes. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

And so, as I said before, the secret is to stay present always, to be mindful and not take nature for granted.




About today’s post: Today’s post is prompted by Cee’s Black & White challenge – remember when you were a child, running through a backyard lawn sprinkler? I think this photo captures the Mute Swan version of a sprinkler experience.


Frequent readers may know that I have been nearly blind for many months and so have been largely absent from WordPress blogs. ten days ago, I learned that instead of three retina laser surgeries, I will need only two – one for each eye. I’ll take that news as a win! Scheduling is still delayed, and until then, Patience is the word of the day. In the meantime, I have been receiving eye injections. Ouch.

Because of my near-blindness, I’m not able to link in my posts to the various host sites for WP challenges/tags in the way I have always done in the past, but please know that I value the sense of community here, especially among the Lens Artists, Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Leanne Cole, BeckyB, Denzil, I.J., Restless Jo, Tofino Photography, Dan Antion, Bush Boy, and so many more, who all encourage the entire international network of photographers and writers. Sorry that I cannot link directly at this time – this is the best I can do for now.

I do love a happy ending, and hope my eye surgeon delivers one for the Herons & me! Patience Grasshopper.


Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 – babsjeheron

Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface graced gallery walls.

TCAN One-Woman Show January thru February 26 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2022 Babsje (

TCAN One-Woman Show January through February 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Sign Reflected; TCAN Stained glass art by Carol Krentzman, framed by Jay Ball

My Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. It was great to see so many of you there.

Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by TCAN to see the wonderful gallery displays of artworks by many talented visual artists, as well as excellent live music performances and stage plays. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.

As always, many of my own photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.



Natick Artists Sidewalk Chalk


Art In The Park 2023


Art in the Park 2023 is coming in June! Watch this space.


Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas have opened back up in a new normal, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past THREE years and they still need your love more than ever.


The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Click here and here to learn more!


My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – One-woman photography show through February 2022
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru January 3 2023
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
Audubon Sanctuary

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

A Patience of Herons™

© 2003-2023 Babsje. (

Share the love, but please respect the copyright. No reposting of any photos without permission.

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick Center Cultural District, Mute Swan


Posted on May 10, 2023, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Mindfulness, Mute Swan, Nature, Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 56 Comments.

  1. 🤯😍😍😍 This is nothing shy of absolutely amazing. I’m in aww. Do you do prints?

    • Hi Drexel. Many thanks for your enthusiastic comment about the Swan. You say the nicest things. To answer your question, yes I do some prints, but I cannot see well enough at the moment to make any new ones. It is possible that the gallery here may still have this Swan and they may return it to me if I ask nicely. 😊

  2. The first time I saw a Great Blue Heron engaging in this behavior, I was astonished. I know I captured images of it, but now I can’t find them. (Note to self: take that need to tag and categorize photos more seriously!) I know where it happened, though, so I’ll find them eventually.

    We don’t have swans around here, so it’s always fun to see others’ photos of them; this one’s especially interesting for its revelation of usually unnoticed behavior.

    • I’m so glad you’ve had the experience of watching a Heron taking a bath. The first time I saw that, it was amazing. I had no idea what was taking place and was thrilled that any photos turned out. I’m sure you’ll find yours when you least expect it. Tags and categories still confuse me. I’m glad you enjoyed this Mute Swan. Thanks as always for your lovely comment.

  3. sassypants45

    Your photos and stories are an absolute joy and a reminder of the beauty that waits for us in unexpected moments!

    • Thank you so very much for saying that about the beauty in unexpected moments. I find that when I set aside pre-conceived expectations out in Nature, instead of intentionally trying to capture a specific photo, I can be richly rewarded. Lovely thought-provoking comment!

  4. being mindful is very hard to do when tired!
    It sounds like a beautiful event to watch!

    • Hi Wayne – you are so right about that, being fully present and mindful when tired is hard! But watching that Swan gave me my second wind just when needed, like icing on the cake. Thanks!

  5. Oh Babsje, you are so patient. But you get the best images. This one is beautiful.

  6. Oh I adore the self-made sprinker in your photos. Works wonderfully with this challenge 😀

  7. Yes, stay present always.

    • Thank you very much for echoing that, I’m sure you are carefully present at all times when you’re out in your own kayak! To have a lapse on the water could be dangerous.

      • And when I’m not so careful, the way I kayak it just means I get wet!

        • Yep, and getting wet can be a real adventure some times. I have never rolled the kayak, fortunately, but I have been totally soaked by rude water ski boat drivers, and my camera and mobile phone, as well. Fortunately a multi-day rice bath salvaged both camera and phone. Take care and have fun out on the water!

  8. Great capture! I really like it in black and white.

    • I’m glad you like the B&W, thanks for letting me know. My lens is old and slow and I find it difficult to capture the fine detail of white birds such as Swans and Egrets, and felt that the setting there on the water lent itself to simple black and white.

  9. Two surgeries is better than three. I don’t know what happened to your eyes, but I have a friend who had retinal detachments all around the retinas of both eyes. He endured 18 laser and cryo “surgeries” — something like 3 at a time in one eye than the other eye. He was a kid; 20? All has been good since then. They hurt and were tiring, but…

    I love the Mary Oliver quotation. It’s kind of where I am right now. I love the thought of a giant bird in its appropriately sized birdbath, too. Today I had a conversation with a Canada goose gander. He did all the talking, so I wasn’t able to convince him that I was not in the least interested in his nest or his wife and he could just go back and chill. He flew in front of me about 8 feet away, his big wings stirred the air and I felt it move. Poor guy. They’re beautiful, but not receptive to human persuasion. Probably a language problem known as a big dog on a leash.

  10. The image of the bathing swan is beautiful and rather ethereal with the clouds of water splashed up around it! Lovely catch!

    In hopes that the doctor is able to restore vision soon. My husband also gets injections into both eyes every 8 weeks for awhile now. But, his is repairing damage from blood sugar issues before it accumulates and causes him vision problems. I don’t envy him or you for having to get eye injections. I guess we can be glad for modern science or medicine and still dread the procedure. Really hope your news ends up great!!

    I agree with you on the sense of community that is here on WordPress and to not take for granted even things you encounter over and over again in the way of species or natural scenes. Repeated joys provide continuity of spirit.

    • Hi Judy – I love how you said this: “Repeated joys provide continuity of spirit.” And thanks for your generous compliment about the bathing swan – ethereal is a good description. Yeah, you’re right about how lucky we are to have modern medical science. The eye injections are unpleasant and frankly leave what’s left of my vision so blurry. I have complications from my 2021 cataract surgeries that the docs need to address. Does your husband get Avastin injections or something different, if I may ask? Thanks again for your kind well-wishes!

      • He gets aflibercept and I think it is for wet edema in the eye but could stand corrected on that. Once it corrects the problem as much as it can, then I think they follow up with a laser treatment.
        Sorry about your cataract complications. I was very lucky and my cataract surgeries went so well and I can’t believe the restoration of color and sharpness I have again.
        Oh Raymonds shots leave him sort of low for the rest of the day and he sees black blobs like a lava lamp until it all settles in. My guess is the meds are clear blobs that make a shadow on the retina. Until absorbed.
        Really hope you can get fixed up soon!!

        • Thanks Judy! The lava lamp experience is the fun part of the shots – almost psychedelic-quality visuals. The cataract surgery complication is posterior capsular opacification. Apparently up to 50% of people can experience it around 5 years after the initial surgery and repair is a simple laser procedure. But I also had significant vitreous hemorrhaging that totally blinded one eye and diminished sight in the other and that they wanted to address first with another vitrectomy (number 3). In addition, I have dry macular degeneration, hence the injections. And the icing on the cake is autoimmunity that affects the eyes. I need to be encased in bubble wrap for the rest of 2023 😎 thanks again! Good luck to Raymond.

          • Luck your way too. I have a tiny bit of that protein build up on the back side of the capsule but it isnt enough to interfere with my vision so the quick as you say laser solution will wait until I have vision issues. YAG the capsule as they say.

            Your other issue are more difficult for sure. My mother had a bleed in her eye suddenly…black snakes she said…and that eye stayed her bad eye. Other ok.

            Keep us posted on your progress…it is a big deal for an artist.

            • Thanks and yep, apparently Yag is no big deal. It sounds so simple. Good luck with your own capsule build up. Mine was so severe that I walk around like Helen Keller with arms outstretched to detect objects in the immediate vicinity. Sorry to hear about your mother’s bleed and that it’s still her bad eye. Mine is in what was formerly my dominant camera lens eye. Bummer. Thanks again for the well wishes.

  11. I love these photos . Looks so wonderful. Anita

  12. Your photos this time are not only fabulous but lots of fun as we think of our childhood water play. This must have been exquisite to watch. I’m glad your eye surgeries have been lessened to two instead of three. Any break is a blessing. 🙂 thanks for visiting me – even as difficult as it is to see. I’m honored.

  13. I love that one of the swan, I”m always trying to get shots like that, you had the light just right.

    • Hi Leanne – thanks so much for your kind compliment. I was lucky that day! I photographed the Swan from a kayak and so didn’t have a high-quality camera and lens – I never risk good equipment out on the water because of pleasure boat traffic. Consequently, the lens was old and slow and getting clear images of an all-white bird was a challenge. I feel pretty lucky to have seen that bathing beauty!

  14. I so enjoyed your swan photograph and bathing description, babsje. The lighting in this with the aura of splashing water is superb. I have seen a lot of swans, but I have never seen one bathing. I watched a large crow bathing this week and that was spectacular, and can imagine the swan bath, a much larger bird, must’ve been blissful. And that is the thing about nature, as you said, we are forced to be in the moment and taking in the beauty that is happening right then…putting if off or coming back to it is impossible in nature. Thanks, too, for the news update on your retina laser surgeries. I’m glad you will have one less surgery than originally anticipated, and I hope it can happen soon…I am thinking of you.

    • Hi Jet – I appreciate your lovely comment, thank you. And thanks for sharing your encounter with the large Crow that was taking a bath. Crows are so fascinating and intelligent. I have read tales of Crows bringing trinkets and other small “presents” to their favored humans. Nature can teach us so much if we stay present and watch and listen to her messages from her many messengers like Crows and Herons and even Trees and flowers. And thanks again for your kind well wishes about my eyes!

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