A friend and I went to a bird sanctuary, which is a fancy name for a little pond where various types of birds breed. People can’t reach far into it, therefore it’s a ‘sanctuary’. We saw starlings, gulls and little egrets. After I saw a little egret (small white heron) for the first time just recently, it was interesting to spot them again, this time in flight. The main attraction in the pond was a family of swans, a mother with five little chicks.
They were swimming for a bit before they decided to settle on the soft grass.
One by one they climbed out of the water, and came closer to us, not really paying much attention to our presence. As soon as they were out of the water, they started grooming themselves; all but one of them. The little swan on the left from the mother (our right) immediately fell asleep. The rest groomed themselves, and then all the other little ones went to sleep too. Look, aren’t they cute?
A lady that we met was concerned that the male swan was nowhere to be seen; apparently he was there last week and since swans mate for life she claimed she has seen them together over the years. “I hope nothing happened to him”, she said, “he keeps them safe”. Had he been there he would most likely chase us off, again this lady said. Not that we were any threat anyway.
Well, further down at another lake we saw him. Not a bother on him. He either got an afternoon off, or merely took it. He didn’t seem one bit concerned with anything but his reputation. It is quite fitting that Brendan Kennelly in one of his poems referred to the ‘arrogant loneliness of swans’. Look at him, making a show of himself.
What happened after, we will never know, but lets hope that they can communicate from the distance and should the little family need him, that they can ‘call’ and he’d go straight back home.
© Iva Beranek (Dublin, July 2015)
All photos by © Iva Beranek