Sunday, 31 January 2010

Bewick's in blue

In the last decade or so a small group (approximately 40) Bewick’s Swans (Cygnus Bewickii/Kleine Zwanen) winter in “De Kempen”, the region where I live. At daytime they prefer farmland, especially corn fields with harvest scraps; in the night they sleep on moorland lakes.
Bewick’s Swans look much more elegant floating in a lake than foraging in a field in my opinion. So a picture of these big white birds while swimming in the warm golden light that marks the end of the day is in my mind for quite some time. Today however, things turned out differently.
At 16h PM I installed myself at the border of the lake where they overnight with my tripod and photo equipment. Soon it started to snow heavily. I had to improvise and used my cap to protect my SLR camera. Around 17h PM snowfall suddenly stopped and the sky opened up. In the meanwhile I was transformed into a snowman, and disappeared in the white landscape around me. The light at that moment was truly amazing. It could best be described as an icy blue sunset, as if the cold absorbed the colors. I have never seen anything like this before. Another fifteen minutes later the flock Bewicki’s landed on the lake. The vocal “whoo-whoo” sounds always makes me feel happy. After landing, 5 adult birds floated slowly towards me. Luckily, I could still move my index finger enough to press the shutter button. It is one of my favorite pics.

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