It seems as though a weather switch was flipped overnight, and instead of the lovely light of the past few days, today we had to endure unremitting twilight. I spent the morning (grumpily) at my desk, processing and rationalising image files – mainly owl shots taken over past fortnight, which, as you’d expect, I find it especially painful to cull. After this I was in dire need of some fresh air and exercise, so R and I went to Stratford and walked along the south side of the river, where we spotted these young swans courting.
R had never seen a mute swan courtship ritual before, and was charmed by the way they bobbed their heads and twisted their necks, mirroring each other’s posture. I wish I could have taken this shot from further to the right, so as to have captured a better heart shape – but that would have meant stepping into the river. I was hoping that they’d repeat the manoeuvre at a better angle to the shore, but instead they were borne down on by an older cob, wearing flared wings and a None of this kind of thing! expression, and the young male wisely skittered out of the way before he could be physically chastised.
For the past few weeks there has been a notable dearth of tufted ducks in Stratford, but today I was pleased to see fourteen of them in a group by the islands between the Old Tramway Bridge and the theatre. As often happens, one was bolder than the rest, and swam towards the quay to find out what the other water birds were up to; he then began diving for food, and quite soon three of the others also came close enough to be photographed. I’ve put a photo on Facebook, if you’re interested.