I was just browsing through my iPhoto library and I realised that I have almost no photos of the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor). In fact, I have way more photos of Whooping Swans (Cygnus cygnus) – a species I almost never see – than of Mute Swans. Now, I suppose this is almost forgiveable, or at least understandable, because, to put it mildly, I just get way more excited about Whooper Swans than Mute Swans.

But none of my local birds here in the Alps got quite so neglected as the Blackbird (Turdus merula) – I do not seem to have a single photo of a Blackbird in my library. That is just plain embarrassing and I am going to have to do something about that.

Anyhow, back to the swans.

So, last winter I was out at Achensee, a huge Alpine lake and we came across a pair of Mute Swans in wonderful, dim evening light and I was absolutely captivated by the light, the colours, and the subtlety of the swans. For (almost) the largest flying bird on planet earth, “subtlety” is not a word one would think of using all to often with them. Anyhow, I thought I would share some of the photos from that day:

So, the next time you see these park swans, take a moment to appreciate them. Oh, and here is a photo of Achensee, encircled by the peaks of the Karwendel mountain range.

Happy birding,

Dale Forbes

Written by Dale Forbes
Dale grew up in the forests and savannas of South Africa, developing a love for nature from a young age. After studying Zoology and Wildlife Science, he moved to Central America to continue his work in conservation biology. He is a member of BirdLife International’s Advisory Board and is Swarovski Optik’s Head of Strategic Business Development.