Wildlife in the UK - Swans of Bedford

Wildlife Photographer Greg Coyne focusses on the beautiful swans inhabiting the river along The Embankment in Bedford


You only need to walk along The Embankment in Bedford to realise that we have no shortage of swans locally. Some people consider them messy as they can leave their ‘signs’ along the pathways as they leave the water and feed on the grass and greenery along the riverbank. They also seem to like the local area for breeding and can quite often be seen in the spring sitting on their nests along the boating lake. 

I can’t think of any local water that doesn’t have swans residing - in fact they are doing a lot of house building around the Biddenham by-pass just down from Bromham where I live and already the water drainage ponds have swans in residency. To me, there is nothing more graceful than a swan gliding slowly down a waterway or lake. Swans feed in water and on land. They are almost entirely herbivorous, although they may eat small amounts of aquatic animals. In the water, food is obtained by up-ending or dabbling and their diet is composed of the roots, tubers, stems and leaves of aquatic and submerged plants. 

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Swans famously mate for life, and typically bond even before they reach sexual maturity. Their nests are on the ground near water and about a metre across. Unlike many ducks and geese, the males help with the nest construction and also take turns incubating the eggs. Swans are highly protective of their nests and they will viciously attack anything that they perceive as a threat to their chicks, including humans. 

I would think nearly everyone has at some time or another taken an image of a swan, whether on a DSLR camera or just by using the camera in their phone. So as a professional photographer it’s hard to try and portray something ‘different’, either the swan doing something out of the ordinary or maybe just presenting the image in a different way (such as a black/white image). So the images here were all taken quite recently on our local lakes and rivers and show a black and white style, swans in the early morning mist and swans preening either themselves or each other. 


Living in Bedfordshire you are always very close to wildlife and it’s easy to take for granted some of the incredible wildlife that is literally just on the doorstep. Our lakes and rivers are fantastic to walk around with binoculars or a camera - there is always something to see or photograph. We are now welcoming spring when local wildlife focusses on mating and rearing youngsters so what better time to get out and about. Just on a walk around the Priory Country Park and the Finger Lakes you will see all varieties of birds - from the small wren to the large swans, herons, little and great egrets, ducks of all sorts and, if you are lucky, birds of prey. Make the most of the spring and take exercise at the same time…

You can see more images of this spectacle on my Facebook page which is Greg Coyne Photography so please check out my page, like it, and then keep up to date with my travels on a regular basis. You can also visit my website  gregcoynephotography.co.uk 

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