Saturday, 6 April 2013

1. Mute swan (Cygus olor)

Here's the first drawing, copied from a photo of a posing male mute swan at Rutland Water a while ago. 

Mute swan sketch.
Mute swan at Rutland Water, 24/01/2010.
I spent about 20 minutes on this. Misjudging the amount of space on the page and the size of the bird I'm drawing seems to be a developing theme, resulting in this case in a tail-less swan, oops. Sorry swan. I think I probably also made the body a bit too long, and have gone to town a bit on the shading to try and distract you from this!

This is a male mute swan from its deep red-orange bill with large black knob, and from the behaviour. Supposedly the bill is the best way to tell apart male and female, but I remember going to a talk once by Jan Harrigan of Wychbold Swan Rescue, who reckoned that because illness or injury could cause the bill-knob to deflate and appear rather wan, the only foolproof way to tell the sexes apart was by the head shape. I can't remember what the differences were now though and a quick Google has not revealed anything! Has anyone else heard this?

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