By Jacob King and Sophie Norris
This is the moment a male swan struck a stunning balletic pose in front of Hampton Court Palace.
The images, captured at the break of dawn in Home Park, London, last week were taken by amateur photographer Sue Lindenberg, 72, who spends each day on the grounds photographing wildlife.
After chasing off the competition while protecting its nesting mate the white cob performed a series of victory poses against the stunning backdrop.
Sue from Teddington, London, said: “This swan’s mate was across the road in a nest with nine eggs, all soon to hatch. He was very protective towards her.
“He heard the other swans and wanted to scare them away.
“He careered across the road from Bushy Park to Home Park and when he’d chased them off, sat in the water and groomed himself.
“I love when swans stretch out like this and it was almost as if to show his superiority because he’d scared off the others.
“It was a question of hoping and praying that he would remain in that spot and not move off or turn his back to me before I got the shot.
“This stretching is just what they do. They’re great birds to photograph because they spend a long, long time plucking each feather and cleaning it, then they’ll do a big stretch showing it all off.
“I’ve noticed they do it when they’ve chased others away, so it could be a sign of power.”
Moving from South Africa to London 16 years ago, Sue is a retired physiotherapist with three grown children.
In her spare time now, she enjoys nature photography and despite starting off with a simple camera in 2010, she is largely self-taught.
Sue claims the time of day and lack of traffic made her encounter with the swan ‘extra special’.
Sue said: “It seemed so lovely at the time, photography at that time is a lovely thing to do.
“This was taken at 6.15am when no-one was around. It was just me and this swan, one to one.
“Cars aren’t allowed in this part of the park so people tend to stick with Bushy Park across the way as they park their cars or walk their dogs there.
“I think that made it extra special – me being on my own on a quiet morning.
“I started wildlife photographer about eight years ago but have only been doing it seriously for around four.”