Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Look at the friendly Black Swan

I had spotted a pond at the end of our street, so with stale bread in hand, we headed off on a duck hunt.  True to form, my princess had consumed two pieces of the stale bread before we even reached the pond, and when we did arrive, the only thing bopping up and down on the water was an empty iced coffee bottle. 

Spotting some galahs close by, we tried throwing some bread at it.  This just scared it away.  I had spotted a few little ant hills, but pretty sure it would be a slow process feeding them the stale bread.  We continued onto the Swan River where there is a little makeshift beach.  It seems that the seagulls will have to be our prey for attention.  The children start to catapult the bread with all of their might at the squawking birds, (distancing an average of one meter in front of them), and they seem to multiply and appear out of thin air.  These are hungry birds.

“Look.  Oh how beautiful.  Three black swans.”  I announced to  the children.  So graceful, they glided along the water’s edge and then slowly waddled out of the water.  I found it uncanny to see Black Swans on Swan River.  After all, you do not see tall, agressive, powerful women floating down the  Amazon river do you?  They looked so friendly, (swans, not female warriors).  They waddled through the crowd of seagulls.  They waddled straight towards us.  Picking up speed now.  Um, still waddling.  Good lord Mr Black Swan, you are taller than my son!  I grabbed the bag of bread out of my child’s hand and threw it at the swans.  This stopped their waddling and eased my accelerated heart rate, (a little).   Calm down I tell myself, it is just a bird, I immediately remember teasing my husband in Italy about his fear of geese, lovely bird, so friendly.

I encouraged my crew down the beach a little bit, so we can put our feet in the water and play in the sand.  Unfortunately one of the swans was convinced that I had bread stuffed in my pockets.  It made eye contact with me 25 meters away, and it started its waddle, we were having a stare down and this thing did not blink once.  Can swans smell fear, because I was oozing it! Waddle, waddle. Its neck straightened, and wings extended, (obviously to assist in its aerodynamic land speed). It eye balled me and flitted across the sand faster than an English tourist thong less on Bondi beach in the middle of summer.  This is it, this swan is going to consume one of my children. “Run!” I yelled as I collected the camera and shoes and sprinted for the grass area.  “Run, I said run!” I screamed again.  Didn’t they know their lives were in danger?  My daughter turned to run towards me, my son, defending his family turned and threw a fistful of sand at the attacker.  They say ‘fear is learnt’, come on son, surely you can sense my fear here?!?

I backtracked quickly like a lioness protecting her cubs and swept my son to safety.  (Actually, that is what I should of done.  Pretty sure, in reality, I just stood behind a tree screaming, ‘run for your life’!)
Once the attacking swan retreated, we bravely entered the beach again, as far away from the bird life as possible.  This is where we discovered jelly fish.  Jelly fish! Really?  Perth really is pulling out all the stops to make this feel like a real beach.  I have a feeling that it has something to do with the queen visiting for CHOGM? Perhaps the seagulls, imported sand and jelly fish are just Perth’s way to promote the image of Australia being one big beach; even on the river?  If the queen really needs convincing, I am more than willing to host a BBQ on the beach.  Snags on bread?  Or black swan on bread perhaps?  Is that wrong?

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