April 8, 2019
The annual Stratford Swan Parade is a wonderful tradition. In 1918, the first pair of Mute Swans were released onto the Avon River and have been lovingly cared for ever since. Each year they are led from their winter quarters by pipes and drums before making their way into the water. The swans return to their winter home in November before the river freezes over.
I was fortunate enough to attend the parade this year and got the perfect spot right on the river bank exactly where the swans would enter the water. A family of seven sisters led the parade with homemade costumes. They were planning on making the event an annual tradition.
Finally, I caught my first glimpse of the swans as they waddled towards the river. One by one they entered the water, some even making sounds which could only be described as pure joy. Eventually they all made it and grouped together briefly before heading off along the river.
As the crowd dispersed, I headed off along the river hoping to get some more intimate shots of the swans on the water. I spotted a immature Mute Swan that hadn’t quite grown into its white feathers yet. I also witnessed a mated pair reunite and perform a courtship ritual. The swans formed a true image of devotion, their curved necks in the shape of a heart.
It was a perfect day and a memory that I won’t soon forget. If you are able to do so, I highly recommend attending the parade. You won’t regret it !