Unsung Hero of Nature Photography

I had an interesting encounter with two swans earlier in the week. Not many people can say that. It was at a pond designated as a haven for wildlife, close to East Beach at Selsey – if you wish to visit the site to attempt a re-enactment.

I had bought a ham and cheese roll, an iced bun with a cherry on the top, and a can of Mackeson original stout – I did not realise they still made this, I remember my grandfather drinking it. A perfect picnic – to sit on the beach just watching the sea. I imagine spending my retirement staring out to sea, thinking of horizons to come and of horizons long gone. What fascinating reading will be my retirement blog, PsychoDel’s Dun Psyching. Sounds vaguely oriental.

I passed the swans and thought they would make a good profile picture for a social networking website but we had a breakdown in communication – they thought I was being sociable by offering to share my sandwich and I thought they were being unsociable by not adopting the correct pose. I won’t even mention the webbbed feet. They hissed menacingly when I bravely retrieved my sandiwch from the picnic table where I had left it to fiddle ineffectually with my camera. I understand in a theoretical way that an angry swan could break someone’s leg – I hear that the Selsey swan massive will break your legs if you just look at them in the wrong way, let alone attempt to get a picture – and I did not want to enhance this understanding with experiential knowledge.

I had my picnic, notwithstanding that my sandwich possibly had fleeting beak contact with one of the swans, and then returned to take a photograph unencumbered with my comestibles. This is the bravery and tenacity of an unsung hero, and reminded me of an incident on Lundy when I scrambled over rocks to get a good angled shot of the sea through a rocky aperture – my daughters were watching this little venture when I suddenly disappeared from view, just as my eldest was trying to take a photograph of me taking a photograph of the sea. I returned to the girls with a very muddy backside and a bleeding elbow – and the photograph of the sea through a rocky aperture! Like I said – tenacity. And idiocy.

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