Black swan near Dechsendorf


Last year I spotted a black swan flying by together with a group ordinary mute swans. At that time I wrongly assumed it to be a common mute swan with melanism.

Four mute swans and a single black swan flying by
My first sighting of a black swan

It took a whole year until I saw another black swan at the Großer Bischofsweiher. However, this time I searched the web and realized my fallacy: Black swans (Cygnus atratus) are a separate species and not native to Germany, but some abandoned and/or feral individuals or small groups of them can be sighted in Europe.

This January, we had freezing temperatures here in Franconia for a comparatively long period of time and fortunately, we had some snowfall too. Ice and snow allow one to take clean and simple photos. I like that style. So, together with the flexibility of home office (one of the few positive consequences of COVID-19), I took my chance and went out to the local ponds as often as I could. On one of those trips, I saw my second black swan. The light was almost gone, so I decided to come back to that location on the next morning.

This lead to a couple of more visits to that location. The swan stayed around the only ice-free spot of the great pond the whole time. As the swan was quite tame, I was able to make some portraits and a few abstract close up shots.

Several times the mute swans on the pond and the black swan had a brawl. Most of the time, the black swan was the aggressor. To me as a human, the black swan looked like a excluded kid on the schoolyard who wants to play with the other kids, but is repelled, and thus gets angry and lives the life of a bully. With this in mind, having a look at the first image of the collection below, one might see a jealous black swan looking at the chummy group of mute swans.

On one particular day, the weather was very harsh. The water fowls had to withstand the waves and strong winds additionally to the cold temperatures. I think that I was able to capture this mood in one of my photos, it shows the swimming black swan fighting the elements.

During those winterly weeks, I also took pictures of other birds, like grey heron and great egret. I also spotted some wood ducks and mandarin ducks. Later, I was able to get some decent photos of them. You can view some of them in my main gallery.