Saturday, September 12, 2015

Swallows, barns and Mobius

click photo to enlarge
The re-naming of certain species of British birds is something that will take a long time to gain widespread acceptance - if ever it does attain that position. Certainly, as far as I'm concerned, a wheatear will not be called a northern wheatear, a jackdaw will never be a western jackdaw and a jay won't be a Eurasian jay. I can certainly understand why ornithologists, drawing on recent genetic discoveries, see the need to differentiate birds with greater precision. But, that doesn't mean that the common names won't continue in use, nor I think, do bird experts expect otherwise. My father called what is today referred to as the northern lapwing, the tewit, a country name that he grew up with. I shall continue to call it the lapwing as I have done all my life. And I will never bring myself to call a swallow a barn swallow.

On a recent visit to Gainsborough we came across a street sculpture in mirror-finished stainless steel that depicted a Mobius strip (ring) of swallows. The piece was called "Endless Summer", a title that caused me to groan. It wasn't the greatest example of recent public sculpture that I've seen but the shiny finish lifted it above the other examples that we came across in the town. I was sufficiently interested in the way the polished metal reflected the surroundings and imparted changing colours to take this detail of part of the ring of birds. Real swallows were still about when I took my shot, skimming the nearby River Trent and circling above the fields across the water. In a few weeks they'll be gone but their metal counterparts will still be here, reflecting the greyer days of autumn and winter.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 54mm (108mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0
Image Stabilisation: On