By Chrissie Byrne
These two swans certainly know a thing or two about necking as they were caught getting ready for Valentine’s Day by forming a romantic heart shape.
The enchanting image of the courting birds taking part in their traditional mating ritual was taken by engineer Paul Biggs, 51, at Waverley Lakes in Orgreave, South Yorks.
Dad-of-three Paul, who lives in Sheffield, said: “The photo makes me smile at the tenderness and love – it is a pair of swans very much in love.
“Swans have a reputation for being elegant, graceful and their court ship is a way of them showing their love and loyalty. Swans often stay with their partner for life.
“When I uploaded the picture I think 95 per cent of the reaction I got was from women – everyone was talking about love and it being a perfect picture for Valentine’s Day.
“The courtship dance was a sign of devotion, perfect love. I’ve seen the love and affection between swans before.”
Waverley Lakes are built on the site of the Orgreave Colliery where the Battle of Orgreave – a violent clash between striking miners and police – took place during the miners’ strikes in 1984.
Grandad-of-one Paul said he and wife of 31 years Jayne had seen swans engaging in courtship dances before but had never captured the elusive perfect shot.
Paul discovered photography three years ago and said since then his passion has continued to grow.
He said: “The image made me appreciate the beauty of nature. I love to photograph wildlife, nature, sunsets, sunrises and beautiful landscapes.
“I like to be out there with a camera – it’s nice to capture what you see.
“It is all about patience and being in the right place at the right time – I have seen the affection between swans before and managed some ok pictures, but wildlife is so unpredictable so when you get a decent shot it’s very rewarding.
“Photography helps me to switch off and relax. I’m lucky to have a wife that supports and encourages my hobby.
“When I took these pictures I was only there for an hour, but I spend a lot of time at Waverley lakes as they are only 10 minutes from where I work.”