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  • Writer's pictureCrone

A rather larger bird

The rain was not torrential. Indeed, there were only occasional spits forecast until the afternoon. So I took the new camera to the Reserve in the hope of seeing... something.

What I saw were swans.

When they were preening, on the shore, I crept closer and closer, watching out to see if they showed any signs of anxiety. They did not. Though I began to. I've read that the "a swan can break your arm" thing is a myth, but they are large birds and I didn't want to make them unhappy.

I was able to try out both lenses and was quite pleased.

My favourite part is when the swan is trying to get the bulrush. It makes me think of the "Just So" story about how the giraffe got a long neck. Maybe swans got long necks to reach the bulrushes!

It was pleasant to watch them and to see the gentle interactions between them. These cygnets must be at least six months old. It makes me think of the swans at the animal rescue place. I was told the young ones were bullied and chased off the water by the adults. There was zero sign of that here. I wonder how much territorial aggression and inter-group rivalry is created by the stress the animals are under and the severe limits of suitable habitat.

I'm reading a book about how important it is for conservationists to take the human community into account. Sure, it's hard to make a project work if there is local animosity, but what he seems to advocate is a matter of wildlife corridors and little refugia in, for example, palm oil monocultures. These handkerchief sized spaces though, it seems to me, might mean more animals survive - but with very little quality of life, huge stress and a lot of fighting. Our human "requirements" are the problem and until we acknowledge that, the animals are screwed.

In the badger book, there's all this analysis of what adaptive reason leads badgers to mate as they do. They are scientists, of course, and they have to deal in data. Things that cam be measured. It comes down, essentially, to genes and chemistry. And that's fair enough, in a sense. But it's not how we humans or any other animals live and experience the world. And that, the unquantifiable qualities - the qualia - are what matter. No, we maybe can't know them. But those experience them know them in the very core of their being.

The experience is actually everything.

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1 Comment

Jan 12

Excellent film! And yes the part where swan reaches for the bulrush head is wonderful. Glad you're having good success with the new camera x

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