I suppose that if someday a colossal 25-pound male Trumpeter swan, called a cob, should misinterpret my affection for swans to be something as crass as making a move on his soul mate, and thrash me soundly about the head and shoulders with those great and powerful wings, I might change my opinion about the inherent sweetness of swans. But for now, I will continue to imbue them with harmony and gentleness.
Off on another of my photographical treks this afternoon, I found a quartet of Trumpeters near the Kenai Lake boat launch off Quartz Creek road. When I approached the shoreline, the birds were out of sight, so I walked along the snow-covered beach stones until I spotted them in a small cove.
They, being keen of eye and ear, saw and heard me well before I saw them, and began swimming slowly away. No hurry there, no panic there, merely an orderly parade of long white necks and black bills moving farther offshore.
I watched for a few minutes, then knelt in the snow, hoping to get an eye level view with my lens, and also to present a less intimidating persona. The swans stopped and eyed me.
The water was rippled by the breezes, making for difficult photographic definition of the creatures. The background would be too “busy.”
I turned to go back the way I’d come. A glance over my shoulder proved what I love about swan behavior: they followed me. I dawdled, they got closer. Soon I rounded the outer part of a curve in the beach and was out of sight of the birds.
I quickly walked to a large spruce tree along the vegetation line and stood behind it with my small point and shoot camera held out to the side so I could watch its display and remain hidden. I didn’t have to wait long.
They lingered about fifty feet away when I stepped out from behind the tree, so unconcerned that they went about feeding on the vegetation on the lake’s bottom.
I hoped they would approach closer, where the surface was calmer, but they didn’t.
Instead, I walked in their direction, but parallel along the beach. They watched but still appeared calm. At thirty-five feet, I again knelt and watched. They went about their feeding.
By this time, the chill lake winds were taking their toll on my hands and I rose to leave. As I knew they would, the four white birds followed, growing closer and closer until I turned inland.
|Walking away from the swans.|
They lingered there, those graceful white swans with their long and supple necks.