Sunday, November 2, 2008
It isn't often that we hear good news about the environment. If you're paying attention, most of the world is undergoing large-scale man-made disaster. Swan #787 is an exception. Trumpeter Swans are making a comeback in its eastern range. My own Eastern region field guide doesn't even list the Trumpeter Swan, but they really are here. I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with this magnificent creature while walking my dog Dynamo around Musselmans Lake. Lest you think I live in some natural paradise, let me describe the scene. The road is narrow and winding, the traffic is scary, the houses are close and crowded about every scrap of land. There is one parkette with lake access and every other inch of shoreline belongs to someone and gets regularly mown and trampled. It was just such a lawn where I came across Swan #787. I didn't know it at the time as I lack perfect 20/20 vision. Squinting as hard as could, I couldn't make out much beyond a blur of yellow and black plastic attached to one wing. Still, I knew this had to be important information. I knew I couldn't pursue the swans with speed, and, considering I had a dog in tow, I knew stealth was not an option. I tried patience instead. I walked at a leisurely pace along the shoreline ahead of their chosen path, and found a spot on steep embankment where I could sit and wait for them to float by. Dynamo was gloriously co-operative and flopped onto the grass in a casual pose. Patience was rewarded by curiosity from these large graceful avians as Swan #787 floated in giving me a picture perfect view of the entire family. I got some lovely pictures, a beautiful experience, and after having made an official on-line report I have now had a small part to play in the research and tracking of the Trumpeter Swan. Not to mention, I am now on a first name basis with a beautiful swan. I hope to see Swan #787 again.
Image: ACEO 2.5 x 3.5 inch watercolour, watercolour, gouache. This is a good size for a quick illustration while I'm trying to get other things done.