Country diary: the swan who sits on silence

Country diary: the swan who sits on silence

Sandy, Bedfordshire: In his half-vigil, the male never plays any part in this pointless nest maintenance, nor does he incubate the eggs

For too many weeks people have stopped at the river bend to look. Dog walkers stay their charges on impatient leads, little children are thrust forward to witness the public exhibition of what is most often a concealed act.

The female swan opens one eye. A body-fit for her nest bowl, she has all the compactness of a perfect vacuum cleaner, ungovernable hose laid neatly in on itself, working paddles tucked away under down. Most days, her beak is buried in feathers.

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