Shortly after I came out to British Columbia in early 2006 I had a case of severely high blood pressure. It wouldn't have been fair to an employer for me to work for them until I got my health situation sorted out. I was on medications to lower the blood pressure and it took until early 2007 to find the cause. I finally went to a naturopath who found that a microscopic parasite was the cause for all this.

While getting my health in order, I took up blogging to share my photography. This way I wasn't wasting time and others got to enjoy the photos, not just me and those close to me.

In May of this year I had a mini-stroke cause again by severely high blood pressure. I may end up gong to the naturopath again since the specialist and other MDs can't seem to find the cause. This has only been a problem out here. Before that in Ontario, the blood pressure was only marginally high, not severely high like in BC.

Knowledge is good because being forewarned is forearmed!

All that said, enjoy this blog and all the photos I share with you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Swans: Preening, preening and more preening.......

Mute Swans, Cygnus olor, are big birds and there are a number of adult pairs in Vancouver's Stanley Park plus a number of juvenile swans from last year. I haven't taken the time to count them but perhaps on one of my visits I should do just that. According to the National Audubon Society's, The Sibley Guide to Birds, this bird's length is 60 inches, the wingspan is 75 inches and it weighs on average 22 pounds (10 kg). That's one good-sized bird. There is a female mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos, in the upper left-hand corner of the top photo. This bird by comparison is 23 inches in length, has a wingspan of 35 inches and weighs 2.4 pounds (1,100 g). This gives you some idea of the size difference. So naturally, there is a lot of preening to be done to keep the feathers clean and in order. Here is a series of photos taken at the Lost Lagoon on Sunday afternoon, an overcast but rainless day. I sat on a park bench for a long while watching this one adult swan start preening in the water and then continue on shore.

This is a graceful bird in the water but movement on land looks very laboured. On one of my visits I even noticed a swan that was "pigeon-toed." Click on the photos to get a closer look.

Ever wondered where the idea for goose-necked or swan-necked lamps came from? Well, nature would be an obvious source of inspiration. Here you see the swan stretching way to the wingtips and the tail.

I think we're done now. That's a beautiful bird and I spend a fair amount of time just watching them plus the other waterfowl. I hope you have enjoyed this view of part of the swan's life.

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