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A Mute Swan (Cygnus olor). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.
This particular species is probably one of the most known and iconic bird species. You might see it every time you pay a visit to a park or a lake. It is recorded in over 70 countries, where it is either naturally occurring or having been introduced. If this large - though elegant - swan species doesn't occur in an area near you, then you surely know it from the tale 'The Ugly Duckling' by Hans Christian Andersen or the Swan Lake ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Even though it is a well known bird species I am quite happy with this photograph: I love the elegant posture of the head, the contrast between the white plumage and dark background and the ripples in the water.

It is amazing how much good stuff is out there if your open to it. My harvest of last week's cool observations in nature include:
  • a barking roe deer (Capriolus capriolus), standing just five meters away;
  • a rare and unfortunately recently deceased northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus), causes unknown;
  • a wet dune slack, literally overflowing with mating smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) at 11:30 in the evening (bunch of perverts!) ;)
Even though I spend on average more time in the field than the next urban dweller, there is cool stuff going on even right outside your doorstep. For example: while walking our dog last week I observed:
  • a nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), singing it's heart out;
  • a northern pike (Esox lucius), lurking between the underwater vegetation;
  • a mass migration of the common toad (Bufo bufo).
So there we have it: there is absolutely NO EXCUSE whatsoever that your sitting indoors right now behind your computer/tablet reading this month's pic of the month!!!! And even though - my dear reader - I greatly appreciate your attention... get out there now and start exploring!

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Monthly pic April 2013