Just One Person … and Many Ducks (Sweden)

We took our first cruise in 2015, on the Baltic Sea, stopping at interesting historic ports, such as Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as some of the major Scandinavian capitals. I captured this wonderful scene in the town of Sigtuna, Sweden, which has a renowned boarding school and is often a destination for church retreats.  The name of Sigtuna comes from an old English word for town (tuna), which was originally a Viking word.

After a wonderful lunch and a tour of the historic parts of town, learning about runic stones and mythology, visiting a 13th century church, and seeing a scary-looking contraption that was put on people who were jailed for drunkenness at the Town Hall, we were free to walk around on our own. We strolled down the street with lots of souvenir shops. Then we headed down to the lake on a sloping street past picturesque houses (some quite large) with pretty gardens. Along the lake was a park, including a spiral path with a faux runic stone in the middle, a miniature golf course that used tiny versions of local buildings for the holes, and many ducks who hoped for tidbits from an old couple sitting on a bench. There were lots of ducks in the lake as well, and this little girl on the lake shore trying to attract them. She was the picture of innocence and inquisitiveness of childhood and I loved her black hat! She is just one person (with many ducks!) in Sigtuna.

Here is a gallery of photos taken in Sigtuna.

LAPC: The Lazy Days of Summer

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is about summer. Ah, summer! My favorite season of the year! Even with the distancing measures of Covid-19, I can enjoy the summer. (Imagine if the shelter-in-place had been in the winter – we’d REALLY get cabin fever!)

Two recent photos of our senior community that represent summer:

Daisies wet from the automatic sprinklers
A vigilant mama duck keeps watch over her young offspring.

Memories of summers gone by: on this day in …

Tourism in Europe: a group of tourists in Budapest (July 8, 2019)
A summer birthday party on a friend’s patio (July 8, 2018)
A week with family in northern Wisconsin – we rented two cabins on Lower Kaubashine Lake (July 8, 2017)

Flowers in bloom everywhere:

Gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schoenbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna

In summer, people like to be in and around water.

A pool party at dusk on a hot day in August (Des Plaines, Illinois)
Drinks on a boat with friends during a late June heat wave (Amsterdam)
Traffic jam on an Amsterdam canal

WWE: Birds on the Lake

I am forever trying to get good shots of our water bird population. Lately, I’ve gotten several good photos on “West Lake” here at our senior community, so I’m showing them off here on Jez’s Water Water Everywhere #35 challenge.

I unfortunately had only my cellphone camera to use for this shot – the heron has never let me get this close, and his silhouette against the reflected glow of the setting sun on the lake was a perfect setting.
Ducks in a circle
Sidney, West Lake’s male swan
One of our two duck families
Goslings & parents keeping cool on the wet pavement
“Our” heron (same one as in the first photo – he/she comes here every day) – fortunately, this time I had my regular camera and zoom lens!

July Square Perspective: A Swan Story

Becky is back with her July photo challenge! This month the theme is perspective. Becky reviews the definitions of perspective to help get started:

  • Art – the method by which solid objects drawn or painted on a flat surface are given the appearance of depth and distance.
  • Geometry – the way that objects appear smaller when they are further away and the way parallel lines appear to meet each other at a point in the distance.
  • Point of View – a particular way of considering (looking at) something or the capacity to view things in their relative importance
  • Vista – seeing something over distance or time

Here’s my entry for Day 1:

From the gazebo, we watched as Sidney (male swan) from West Lake decided to take a walk we knew not where. Within a short time, his mate (Celina) decided she should join him and walked as fast as she could to catch up with him. They had lost their eggs on the week they were due to hatch in a big storm, so now they are just a couple with time on their hands (or should I say their wings?).

We expected them to come back, but they didn’t. On their walk they discovered East Lake, occupied by another cygnet-less pair of swans, and liked it. So, being a little older and a little bigger – and definitely more aggressive! – they chased the East Lake swans out and took over! For two or three days, the East Lake swans sat on the bank (I guess they don’t know there is another lake), because if they went back into the water, Sidney would attack them!

East Lake swans, Hope and Faith, sit on the bank next to their lake.
Sure enough, Sidney and Celina took up residence on East Lake.

The situation was not resolved until a few days later. Hope and Faith, still unable to go back into their own lake, were gaining the pity of many residents. Someone complained to the grounds crew that it wasn’t fair for the West Lake swans to take up residence in East Lake and chase the other swans away, and with human intervention, Sidney and Celina were coaxed back to West Lake, where they belong!

Sidney & Celina feed and preen on the shore of West Lake, ignoring the ducks, who go wherever they want to.