Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 104 - Black Swans

One of the brief moments in history I would like to see would be when the first European settlers in Australia discovered that the swans were black.  This must have come as a bit of a shock.  In the UK the mute swan is so well known, that it must have been considered the default condition for "swan-ness" - and then out of the undergrowth swims a huge black bird, with just a touch of white, and an impressively red beak.

I sort of imagine that there may have been some swearing along the lines of "what the @#$* is that!".  Even though I knew that the swans here were black, it still came as a shock when one swam past for the first time.  It makes me wonder what impact the chalky white ones will have on me the next time I see one.

This birds formal name - Cygnus atratus - means "swan in mourning" - which really does suggest that this bird made people think about swan-ness in a new way.

With a wing span approaching 2 m and a weight of about 6 kg the males are an impressive bird, and the females are not far behind.

These pictures were taken during my recent trip to Phillip Island, where they popped up all over the place.





Well, now its your turn - click the button, link up and join in the fun!  SM



50 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

that last shot is just beautiful! love the white wing-tips on these beauties!

Chris Rohrer said...

I've only seen these birds in zoos. Black Swans! Like you, just came back from vacation:)

EG CameraGirl said...

I have seen black swans...but not in the wild. Great photos.

Sylvia K said...

Such beautiful birds, Stewart!! I love them!! Great captures as always!! Thanks for sharing! Hope your week is going well!

Kristi Bowman said...

Wow, they are so beautiful!! Beautifully photographed!

Mary Cromer said...

"Swan in Mourning"...how lovely is that! We have your swans here and I was always told that they are visitors from Australia and I do so enjoy them, however they do look out of place and I should say, as much as I like them, I sort of feel they should be with their species doing what they were born to do on their land. Beautiful flight images Stewart, and that is something we shall not see here, since their wings have been clipped as well~

Jo said...

I have never seen a swan in flight (in a photo; as I've also never seen a swan in real life!) and these images are stunning, Stewart. I especially love the second-to-last photo of the magnificent bird reflected in the water. Thanks, once again for a wonderful post. I will link to yours tomorrow (Wed in EA!) Greetings, Jo

Sharon Wagner said...

They do kind of look like a big goose. Not quite as angelic as white. But just as regal.

Frank said...

Impressive stats and certainly more vocal than our Mute version.

Nette Cecilia said...

Lovley black beauties ,i did not know that their wings are white , Greetings from a hot Finland

Mama Zen said...

They are so beautiful!

cobie en bas van Es said...

ze zijn gewoon al heel mooi maar zo in de vlucht zijn ze super.

Indrani said...

Majestic creatures. They look lovely!

Andrea Priebe said...

Oh what a marvelous bird and your pictures capture all of his beauty. I didn't realize that their primaries and secondaries were white ... so once again, I learn something new from you. I have conveniently posted pictures of the chalky white swans for you to see today so that you can find out what impact they will have on you. I think the name, "swan in mourning" suits their swan-ness perfectly ... as in the Swan Song:) Beutiful pictures, Stewart and I look forward to hearing more about your busy-ness. Be well ...

Andrea @ From The Sol

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I wish I could say the same as you..."they popped up all over the place"...but, nope. Not even ONE here.

They're so elegant.

Pieni Lintu said...

Beautiful birds! I have only seen white swans. :) Actually I have swans in my post too. ;)

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Gorgeous birds! I've also only seen them at a zoo.

Phil Slade said...

Interesting thoughts Stewart and it makes me wonder about what happened to all the in-between swans over the millenia - the off-white ones, the grey ones, and even the Magpie Swans?

Linda W. said...

Black swans? I like 'em! Nice photos.

Terri @ Backward B Ranch said...

Well, I feel dumb- I never knew that some swans were black! But they are beautiful!

eileeninmd said...

The black swan is pretty. I have only seen them in captive.. Wonderful series of photos.. Thanks for hosting, enjoy your week ahead!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

They're so gorgeous. I took a million pictures of them at a Lake near us in Florida, where thet were introduced on purpose from your country! We were delighted to find them!

Brian King said...

Love the two tone colors on the wings! Beautiful photos!

Revrunner said...

Can't match that swan, Stewart. Not even remotely. :-)

bailey-road.com said...

What a beautiful bird! That last shot is just gorgeous.

Adam Jones said...

I've only seen a couple of black swans here in the UK, but these are obviously introduced. Would be great to see the real thing in Australia.

orchid Miyako said...

I LOVE their simple color coordination; very elegant, aren't they ♡♡♡

Sincerely from Japan、 xoxo Miyako*

Felicia said...

Oh wow they are beautiful.

pattisjarrett said...

I don't know that I've ever seen a swan in flight. They're usually just floating around...
Thanks for hosting!

Siddhartha Joshi said...

Fantastic captures, especially the first two ones...
-- Houseboats of Srinagar

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Stewart Lovely set of photographs. I don't think I have ever seen one of these swans in flight.

Breathtaking said...

Sorry I'm late, been having trouble posting comments. Have never seen these impressive black swans before. They look heavy but elegant in flight, and love that touch of white. Great job with the pictures Stewart.

Judith Gray said...

Great photos of the black swan in flight - they are a beautiful bird. Love seeing them when they are at the local dam near out patch also. thanks again for hosting WBW.

Irma said...

Hi Stewart,
Beautiful pictures of the black swan.
Best regards, Irma

Carole M. said...

I especially like the low-flight pattern

Roan said...

That last shot is amazing! They are gorgeous creatures.

June Caedmon said...

They are no less regal in their funeral dress. Wonderful shots, Stewart!

marshaleith said...

beautiful photos...I love black swans.

Bob Bushell said...

Lovely Black Swan flying, you can't beat it.

Bob Bushell said...

Lovely Black Swan flying, you can't beat it.

Adam Tilt said...

Like the image of those early settlers! We get the occasional (presumed escapee) Black Swan locally though to see them in their true habitat would be fantastic. Great shots.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Those swans are spectacular, Stewart! I've never seen one except for Swan Lake's version :) Thank you for this fine meme. I've been missing in action lately, but there is so much to see and learn here. Must visit more regularly!

A Quiet Corner said...

Since I have never seen one, these pix are treats!!!! ...:)JP

maryaustria said...

These black swans are such beauties! We have a lot of white swans here but I´ve never seen a black one in nature! FAntastic photos!

babsjeheron said...

Stewart, your black swans and their photos are so special! I have only ever seen one black swan, it was remarkable, but to see many of them there must be a sight to behold. Thanks for sharing these.

Neil said...

Love the Black Swans.

bettyl-NZ said...

They are quite majestic in their own right. When I first saw one I was sooo excited. Now, 8 years later, they are still quite photogenic, I think.

ladyfi said...

Such marvellous shots! I'd love to see a black swan in real life.

Liz said...

Wonderful flight shots of the Black Swan! They are incredibly graceful aren't they.

Marie said...

Oh, how incredibly beautiful! Love the photos. I had no idea there were white feathers under their wings.

I too have been away. We spent 13 days on vacation in N. AZ, Utah & Colorado. I hope you will be able to see the first two posts of this area as you start catching up...and of course there will be many more! I have SOOO many photos I want to share! :-) I didn't get many bird pictures on the trip, but I did get a few. And I have one post I saved from before we left that I want to share, so I will be on WW Wed. as much as I can. Glad you had a great trip. Look forward to seeing your photos as well!