Swan Life

I saw the Union Canal swan family on my walk home at the weekend. This year the usual mating couple of adult swans had nine cygnets, back in the early spring, and I have been taking photos of them and watching them over the last few months. Back in mid-May they were just these tiny little balls of adorable fluff:

Wonderful New Life 018

Wonderful New Life 012

Wonderful New Life 010

By June they were growing, the fluff moulting out and their grey feathers starting to appear, as they got larger:

The Swan Family 03

The Swan Family 01

The Swan Family 05

The Swan Family 010

By August they had grown to around the same size as their mum and dad – here they are being hand-fed by the lady who runs the Union Canal Swans twitter feed which reports on them:

Feeding Time With the Swan Family 08

Feeding the Swan Family 06

And now in September they have learned to fly, with most of the babies having now left the canal and gone off to find their own spot, probably one of the nearby lochs like those on Arthur’s Seat, where large groups of young swans stay until they mature (and the grey feathers go to white), then they find a mate and strike out to find their own spot, like their mum and dad have on the canal near me. I passed them at the weekend, and now there is only one cygnet still with the parents, the left have flown the nest. It’s remarkable to see them go from tiny creatures to these large, elegant birds taking wing in just a few months, a small miracle right here in the middle of the city, but at the same time it is also sad to see them leave.

Family Outing 04

Family Outing Vid

On the BBC

The photograph I posted here last weekend of the new moon hanging over a twilight street of Victorian tenements has been put up by the BBC on their website in their weekly ‘your pictures’ section of the Scottish news part of the BBC site (it’s the fourth one in). I was quite surprised this shot came out at all, actually, it was my usual gonzo photography, spur of the moment, see a scene, try and snap it – no kit, just my small compact digital that lives in my bag, a tiny 3-inch mini tripod meant for table top use that I sometimes have in the bag and a handy gatepost to sit it on – and a lot of luck. I’m pretty chuffed that it worked and even more chuffed that the Beeb picked it for this week’s crop of images from round Scotland, especially given how good some of the pictures in that feature are each week (click to see the larger image on my Flickr).

Since I started posting digital photos I’ve had some borrowed for articles, for teaching guides and other uses (and that’s not counting ones I’ve taken at comics conventions for the work blog) – doesn’t pay anything but it does give a damned big feel-good factor. And being an old web-hand I still have that old-fashioned belief that the web is meant to allow us to share a bit ( a lot of us who started online in the early 90s still feel that, I think), so I kind of like the fact that a number of different folks have asked to use some of my pics on occasion.