One of the best things about living in Switzerland is the many lakes dotted around the country between mountains and hills. On a calm day, the surrounding highlands, some snow-capped for most of the year, are reflected in the water, which can range from an aquamarine green to turquoise. On a windy day, the waves can make even a fish chuck up.
One of the best things about living near a lake is the presence of many water birds. My favourites are the ducks, swans and 'bonneted divers' Great Crested Grebe (these have long necks and a sort of bonnet structure around their heads; they dive expertly for fish). Lake gulls and Eurasian coots (black with white beaks) are more common and less enchanting to watch, unless they're accompanied by their young.
'Hi there. Any more bread in your pockets?' One of the cute, not yet all-white, teenage swans gives me its best hungry and enquiring look.
I mistook this Carolina duck for a Mandarin duck, so I said 'ni hau?' to him every time I saw him. His modus operandi is to take a small piece of bread from the grass and dive onto the lake to eat it. Timid, sweet, very low in the pecking order, gets chased by mallards and coots.
Meet Mr & Mrs Mallard. She's always ravenous (maybe because she lays the eggs) and her man often gives in to her as far as getting eats is concerned. In this picture, she's nearer my feet than Mr Mallard -- as usual.
Mr Duck strikes his handsomest pose (below).
In the last photo, a Eurasian Coot swims by an adult swan. The bossier swans often try to prevent the blur teenage swans from getting near me (i.e. the food) but I try my best to throw bread to the skinnier ones on the periphery. Gotta fight that 'survival of the fittest or most beautiful' thing.
Two of the oft-bullied teenage swans have very skinny necks, one of which has something like a tumour growing from one side (I hope it's NOT a tumour though). The one without the 'tumour' is very slow in catching bread -- even the ducks get the better of it, so your timing must be pretty good and your throwing skilful to feed this blur-as-sotong fellow.