Mute swan

Mute Swans at Dusk

Thursday, 19th December 2002, West Yorkshire

swan 'sleeping'The Mute Swan family settles down sedately for the night. One of the adults has tucked its head under its wing. The other stretches out, with the elegance of a ballet dancer, dips its beak in the water and tips back its head to drink. They look more relaxed than they do during the day when the adults are always on guard, the cob puffing up his feathers as they pass a swan drinkingfisherman. The grey cygnet usually swims in close formation between its parents but on the calm, dark waters of the canal at dusk it just stays close, watching them.

cygnetThis peaceful scene is in complete contrast to the ebb and flow of the five o'clock traffic just yards away at the lights up on the bridge.

ripplesThe river is lost in darkness until I catch the reflected warmth of lights on the further shore; then I see a burnished web, like scratches on a sheet of copper, playing on the page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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