Mono Monday: Spring
Spring has sprung,
The grass is ris,
I wonder where the birdies is?
R and I went to Stratford this morning, on an overcast and showery spring equinox. The river was almost devoid of birds, the black-headed gulls having left for their breeding grounds, and many of the mallards and coots having paired up and disappeared as well. However there were still a fair number of swans about, and I spotted this pair doing their courtship dance just off the Bancroft wharf, so I sat myself down on a low wall with the camera and watched.
My extra photo tonight shows the beginning of the actual consummation. It's not quite sharp on the pen's face, largely because she buckled momentarily under the cob's weight as he stepped up onto her back (unsurprisingly, given that the average weight of a male mute swan is 10-12kg). Copulation took less than a minute, and the pen spent quite a bit of it virtually submerged, with her head right under the water, though she she did lift it a couple of times, just far enough to be able to take a breath.
At the end of their coupling she reared up so that the cob was behind her, which is the moment you can see in the main image. They both stayed well up out of the water for another few seconds, first turning to greet each other and touch faces, and then moving side by side and posturally mirroring each other as they slowly sank back down into the river.
It was all rather lovely.
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