Some things make one feel like dancing, and they always seem to arrive just when she needs them most. Looking across a favorite pond in the Lanark highlands a few days ago, I noticed four snowy tumps floating in the distance. Then one tump righted itself and glanced my way with a glowing gimlet eye.
Lo and behold, there were four swans paddling serenely about in the frosty reeds with a small flock of mallard ducks and a single (as far as I know anyway) Canada goose. I captured several images, but the day was cloudy, and I didn't know whether anything had turned out until I returned home hours later and uploaded the day's gleanings into the computer.
Our snowy wonders are trumpeters, the rarest swans in the world and a magnificent species finding its way back to healthy numbers after decades of decline due to hunting (for feathers, down and meat), the loss of habitat and lead poisoning. Our visitors were two adult couples in their prime, probably resting up and feeding before making the long journey north for nesting season.
Given the distance and the absence of light, it was a miracle that any photos turned out, but several did, and I was delighted. Just how lucky can one old hen get? In my excitement, I forgot how squishy the verges of the pond are at this time of the year, and I almost fell in, for the third time in as many years.