Our pair of mute swans are still yet to perform their elegant breeding displays, at least while I have been watching! Despite many hours of observing and waiting it has simply been business as usual for the pair; feeding, preening and patrolling their territory. It may be just a little early for them yet, the extended cold weather here delaying the start of the breeding season.

When I caught up with the swans today they were in a very relaxed mood, perfectly happy for me to get up close to them and capture some rather lovely portraits as they preened their feathers beside the water.

The swans can be difficult to photograph under bright conditions such as this, their white feathers often resulting in blown out highlights as the camera meter reads the scene and underexposes as a result.

Fortunately after a few adjustments and adding a few stops of exposure compensation I am happy with results achieved.


I am particularly pleased with this close up of the handsome cob, his dark eye glinting in the sunshine as he keeps a careful watch on me.


As the swans preened they used long sweeping movements of their necks, and with surprising dexterity with their beaks to nibble at the delicate feathers on their chests.


Here you can see the ridges lining the inside of the beak, these structures not only help to filter out small particles of food when feeding, but also act like a comb when preening.





It wasn’t long before the swans began to doze in the warmth of the sun and I took my cue to leave them in peace.


Want to know about this particular pair of mute swans? Read here.

All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2019 ©

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