Image of the month

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I love the sculptural quality to the shapes created by mute swan pairs. No wonder they captivate artists of all kinds. But this pair in Cressbrook Dale, at the oddly named Water-cum-Jolly, in Derbyshire, seen as the light ebbed away, was among the most beautiful that I have managed to capture in photographs.

It got me thinking. Often their actions seem almost synchronised and the subtle interplay and symmetrical patterns created by mute swan pairs are surely part of their togetherness as a breeding couple. I was intrigued to learn that ‘divorce rates’ among successfully breeding swans are as low as 9 per cent. Surely part of the harmony needed to pass on your genes successfully is encapsulated in the delicate ballet of their movements but especially the gentle tai-chi of their heads and necks. I wrote about it in my Guardian country diary for 19 October. You can read it here.

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