Preening Time at the Swan Pond

One of my favorite Trumpeter Swan photos. Not because its a particularly pretty picture (the background is way too busy) but because I spent a lot of time watching this family of swans and got to know them. At a certain time of the afternoon they would retreat to the far back side of the pond and spend a couple hours preening. In this photo there is one adult and all 6 of the cygnets. The cygnets were almost full size by this time and had a full set of new feathers so they were cleaning out all the fuzzy baby feathers. The adults had spent the summer molting and were cleaning out the old feathers. The other adult was more interested in dunking for its dinner.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No

Sony a6500, SEL200600G @ 600 mm, ISO-200, f/6.3, 1/4000, hand held.


I like this, Gary. A nice array of preening poses. The background is so busy that it’s almost uniform so it doesn’t bother me. If you wanted to play with it, you could subdue/eliminate some of the brighter leaves/twigs, but it’s hardly necessary.

Gary, the number of swans is quite striking. The details in their feathers, the various poses and how grey they also stand out. The background doesn’t both me in the slightest.

Wonderful photo Gary. Sounds like great memories and fun to watch. Really am enjoying all of their various positions and activity. Thanks for posting and sharing with us.

The BG works for me – uniform enough to not be distracting. Great capture of behavior in a social group. The birds are nicely detailed.

Nice shot , Gary , some great feather details .