The ruling couple

I traded skiing for bird watching today. Great choice! I got to witness some drama and action, and got my best swan pictures to date as well.

I used the same spot as last week and this time the swans didn’t mind me. There are more of them now, and they are too busy fighting each other over this small patch of open water to worry about people quietly sitting on the shore. I was very nearly shocked when a pair of swans swam right towards me and then started foraging for food so close that I was desperately zooming out to get any kind of composition out of the birds. But very soon I got an idea of what was going on – this pair that was the first to approach me was trying to dominate over the other swans, they were aggressive and fearless. I knew that swans can be violent and don’t tolerate other birds in their territory during nesting, but this was the first time I’ve seen such a clear display of the behaviour (even if it’s not quite nesting time as yet). I will let the pictures tell the story!

Here's our fearless couple. They were hooting (whooping?) almost constantly, while the other swans were quiet.
Here’s our fearless couple. They were hooting (whooping?) almost constantly, while the other swans were quiet.
They kept tight together all the time
They kept tight together all the time
Lovely couple
Lovely couple
Mirror mirror
Mirror mirror
Another pair of swans with a pair of mallards. The mallards and goldeneyes didn't participate in today's action.
Another pair of swans with a pair of mallards. The mallards and goldeneyes didn’t participate in today’s action.
The ruling couple managed to chase some other swans to flight
The ruling couple managed to chase some other swans to flight
Every time the ruling couple finished chasing other swans, they celebrated with this little dance
Every time the ruling couple finished chasing other swans, they celebrated with this little dance
The ruling couple on the way towards another confrontation. Notice the new guest in the background!
The ruling couple on the way towards another confrontation. Notice the new guest in the background!
One of the ruling birds giving chase
One of the ruling birds giving chase
There isn't much open water around here so the swans that were earlier chased away, had to come back
There isn’t much open water around here so the swans that were earlier chased away, had to come back
The great egret was gone, but I was happy to see a crane instead
The great egret was gone, but I was happy to see a crane instead
Things are starting to quiet down
Things are starting to quiet down
Classic swan pose
Classic swan pose

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