Before reading this, can I suggest you turn on your speakers and click here – it will open up another window with a YouTube video of Yo-Yo Ma and his beautiful interpretation of “The Swan” by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, which is what I’m listening to as I write this. (Well, I’m listening to his entire “Carnival of the Animals” but that’s because it takes me so long to write and edit!)
Who hasn’t heard of The Ugly Duckling? I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone has seen a swan, whether in real life, an image, or on the pages of Hans Christian Andersen’s book just referenced. Graceful and majestic, they regally glide through the water, and even in flight seem more stately than other birds.
There are six or seven species of swans (svaner in Norwegian). According to Wikipedia,
Swans usually mate for life, though ‘divorce’ does sometimes occur, particularly following nesting failure. And if a mate dies, or is killed by a predator, the remaining mate will take up with another; however, if all goes well in the pairing, they indeed will stay together “for life.” The number of eggs in each clutch ranges from three to eight.
There were swans on Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, Maryland that I would watch as I walked the path, but I never felt as familiar with them as friends who lived within walking distance of the lake probably felt.
When we moved to Lysekloster last March we saw a pair in a protected part of the fjord, near the docks where the boat that take visitors to Lysøen is located. Last winter was so cold and long, and the fjord froze; our landlord commented that he would drive by in the morning and worry that they were frozen in the ice. But they’d be gone when he drove by on his way home. No trapped swans!
During our visit to Solstrand in August, I captured images of a breeding pair and their five “ugly ducklings.” It was my first time to see a family swimming in such a way, and watching the personalities of each as they made their way towards the shore was a treat.
Two weeks ago Jan stopped the car for me to get out and photograph the local swan family a little more “up close and personal” on the Pøyla inlet that flows in from the fjord. For a split second I thought they were quite curious … and then I realized they were also, of course, very aggressive and protective. I was glad I had decided to stay up by the road!
Those “up close” photos didn’t turn out very clear, but it was nice to stop and see them, especially as I’ve seen them so often from our vantage point 100 meters in the sky … and those “up above” images are my favorites: I’ve used my new tripod, and this is where I’ve had a little bit of luck with my timing!
Floating serenely on the fjord …
Flying gracefully past Lysøen to the far docks (my favorite images!) …
Or seemingly begging from the two fisherman in their boat way down on the fjord, and then leaving as, I guess, they weren’t rewarded! …
It’s a glimpse of our area swans and their everyday life. And it’s a privilege to watch them!