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 got his first pair of binoculars for a very early birthday after his dad realized that it was the only way to be left in peace. Many robins, eagles and finches later, he ended up at university studying various biology things and wrote a thesis on vertebrate biogeography in southern African forests. While studying, he also worked on various conservation/research projects (parrots, wagtails, vultures, and anything else that flew) and ringed thousands of birds. Dale studied scarlet macaws, and worked in their conservation, for three years in southern Costa Rica, followed by a year in the Caribbean working on Whale Sharks. After meeting the woman of his dreams, he moved to Austria where he now has the coolest job in the world making awesome toys for birders (Swarovski Optik product manager). He happens to also be obsessed with photography, particularly digiscoping, and despite all efforts will almost certainly never be a good birder. He also blogs for birdingblogs.com