Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves


One of the Sydney Park swans – on a holiday at the Cooks River.

The curve of a swan’s neck.

The curve of wings.

In close-up: The curves in the feathers.

I heard an Aboriginal man on radio say there were once huge flocks of black swans on the East Coast of Australia. Before the Europeans came.


Two of the cygnets at Sydney Park – still stretching wings, not yet flying, in December 2012.

Now we name a football club after them.

While they are not listed as endangered, they are a protected species. You can see them along the South Coast but there are no longer flocks darkening the Sydney skies.

Last year there was great excitement among Sydneysiders when just two black swans nested in Sydney Park and raised three cygnets to adulthood.


More curves – in the flow of the pond water.

Henry and Matilda and their offspring attracted a loyal fan club. There’s even a Facebook page.

There was some consternation when Henry and Matilda left, but it turned out they were sojourning only a few kilometres away on the Cooks River.


Three cygnets. The two at the back bullied the one in the foreground so this is a rare shot of the them all together. They’ve left the Park now. Will they be back?

There was more excitement when they returned to Sydney Park a month or two ago – would they be nesting again?

I guess that was their plan, but there is no happy ending to this story. Yesterday, even while I was drafting this post, I heard that Henry had been mauled and killed by a dog. 

Were we pinning too much hope on these birds, imagining swans might reclaim Sydney?

This post was written in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.


4 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

  1. Jill, we still don’t in fact now what happened to Henry so I am not willing to put it down to a dog. Re our hopes, there are so many variables in what will or won’t bring back or keep our birds around. For example, I don’t know that anyone has done much of a look at the impact of the growing number of ibises in all the wetlands of Sydney; I love em, but do they represent competition for other water birds. There is also so much permanent human environmental change that impacts on our bird populations that it may be too much to expect a return to earlier days. You will have seen my own FB post about this in relation to the changes in bird populations I have noticed in Sydney Park over 20 years of going there, none of which can be ascribed to animal behaviour and all of which can be ascribed to Councils continually fiddling with the Park to suit this years parkland fad. The web of life is so damnably and wondrously complex that we have to recognise that some of what we do, indeed much of what we do has consequences we barely understand. I am not excusing irresponsible dog and cat owners (and let’s always remember that cats are a significant killer of urban birdlife much more so than dogs) but I do think we have to step back and look at the totality of what we do in an ecosystem and come to grips with the range of interventions we have made and look at multiple interventions to do what we can to regain some of what we have lost. 😦

  2. Thanks Paul for setting the record straight. I didn’t mean to join in with the demonising of dogs – if a dog was responsible it’s ultimately the owner’s fault anyway. And whether dog, cat or sadistic human, Henry’s death still symbolises for me the impact thoughtless humans have had on this environment.

    I think the swans’ success in raising even one clutch of babies is wondrous, considering the obstacles. It’s disappointing (understatement!) that Council can’t also appreciate that and support the continued flourishing of all the park’s bird life. I was appalled by the destruction of habitat that you described in your FB post. So shortsighted. Meanwhile, just down the road, other councils are trying to regenerate wetland habitats along the Cooks – what an irony.

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