Stratford Stance

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Stratford Stance

Copyright, All Rights Reserved,
Barry W. Hollritt, 1997

When people arrive in Stratford, England they usually come to see the town where William Shakespeare was born and buried. Stratford also is the home to the Royal Shakespearean Theatre, which sits on the banks of the Avon River. It was a cool February afternoon and I was anxious to spend the afternoon walking through the town for three things: to visit the Slug and Lettuce pub, to wander through Stratford's quaint side streets, and to photograph the mute swans that live next to the theatre. On my first visit in 1974 to Stratford I saw the swans along the riverbanks and boat embankments. It has been only recently that I have begun to understand more about the swan populations in England. Though the mute swans, or Cygnus Olor are a common site in England, there are a few "habitats" of the birds in different English locations that encompass large amounts of swans. Stratford upon Avon's flock is one of the largest populations in all of England and knowing so many birds were together in one such place beckoned me back again. I spent about an hour wandering the river embankment and photographing the birds. I had just turned from one group to the group in this picture when suddenly one of the largest birds rose and "displayed" his dominance. I managed only one photograph of the stance, yet in that one moment, our eyes were glued upon one another. For that one instant the bird stood out and above the companions it lived with. A moment later, the swan descended back onto the Avon River and merged back into the flock. While in Stratford, check out the Black Swan pub right up the street!


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