One of the benefits of living at Elk Lake (there are many, as some of you might guess) is the opportunity to observe wildlife in either places few if any go or in seasons few if any are around. And, while I do not have the camera equipment possessed by many of our guests, if I have the time, I am usually blessed with a few unique occasions to observe and record our various wild animals in their natural settings following their daily routines.
Late last fall I enjoyed such an experience. Not far from the lodge is a little known and rarely visited pond. While in our travels I have seen Trumpeter Swans floating placidly on small bodies of water bordering busy byways, I doubt they spend any of their lives in the Centennial. Our swans are still wild. They will tolerate human presence - to a point and at a distance. Thus it was with pleasure I spent nearly one and a half hours observing these birds from a relatively nearby location.
In fact, while it made for less exciting pictures, they paid me perhaps the highest compliment I have ever received from our wild friends by going to sleep in my presence. At one point every bird on the pond (and there were more than twenty) had its head tucked in its wing. Amazing!
Trumpeter Swans were obviously named for their unique vocal abilities. I have heard these large birds talking in the distance. I have heard them calling to one another as they flew. However, I did not know how vocal they are when completely undisturbed. Except when sleeping, it seemed these birds were always calling back and forth to each other.
Of course the shots every swan photographer wants are the ones with the birds facing each other, necks arched to form the distinctive heart shape. Well, I can't say I had much luck in this area. Just one hazy shot from across the pond.
The other coveted pose is with wings spread. In this area, although my shots do not begin to compete with those taken by Jerry James (which I shared in a recent post), I did have a bit more luck.
Of course there were numerous other photo opportunities so I took a lot of pictures. Many look like repeats of other shots. Many are too tame, too calm, too predictable or just plain poor. However, I will share a few more which are, at least, interesting. In these two shots you get a glimpse of the birds' curiosity.
While the famous shots are beautiful, these graceful birds tend to look good no matter what they are doing.
In fact, their actions often appeared synchronized.
Yes, I live in a beautiful place, surrounded by beautiful creatures. I trust I never take it for granted or begin to see it as common place. I have learned, however, there is beauty wherever one goes - if we will but look for it. I hope you are enjoying the beauty in your area, too.
Lady of the Lake