A popular Vancouver photographer has captured a jaw-dropping perspective of the inside of a swan's mouth.
While most Vancouverites know that Canada Geese have an aggressive streak, they may not have encountered as many swans.
Canada Geese are abundant in the Lower Mainland. In fact, the City of Vancouver aims to reduce the goose population by removing nests and addling eggs (where the Vancouver Park Board replaces eggs in a nest with treated eggs). The board says they eat young grass, can be vicious when they are with goslings, and poop. A lot.
And while they are far fewer swans in Metro Vancouver, the large, regal birds are no less aggressive.
Local wildlife photographer David Leeming has a knack for capturing Vancouver wildlife in captivating poses. In fact, his intimate animal snaps have garnered him international acclaim — he's been featured by National Geographic.
Leeming tells Vancouver Is Awesome that he was at Ambleside Park photographing its pair of swans when the male attacked his camera.
When they are nesting, mute swans are particularly territorial. Leeming writes in an Instagram post that the male (male swans are called cobs) was patrolling the large pond while his mate nested nearby.
"He lunges to attack any other waterfowl within striking distance and will even bite the toes of unsuspecting human admirers along the edge of the pond," he explains.
"I thought I was being stealthy while crouched down along the side of the water, capturing this behaviour but to my surprise, my camera lens became the prime target for a few moments."
Leeming shared a couple of unsettling photos that show the cob's serrated tongue (yes, swan's tongues look like they have teeth — so do geese tongues). A third photo shows the determined cob chasing a smaller waterfowl out of the pond.
Stunning Vancouver wildlife snaps
A scroll through Leeming's Instagram reveals a smorgasbord of stunning, up-close-and-personal photos of local animals. From raccoons to beavers, herons to crows, foxes to rabbits, as well as sweeping forest views, his portfolio spans a wide variety of B.C. flora and fauna.
A lifelong Metro Vancouverite, Leeming said he's lived in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood for the last 17 years or so. And while his photos may seem like the fruit of a life's dedication, he says he only became serious about photography a few years ago.
National Geographic has featured the Vancouver photographer a number of times and even chose one of his photos to be a feature story on its site. Leeming says that their recognition made him feel like he was on the right track and all his hard work and dedication were paying off.
Follow Leeming on Instagram.
With files from Brendan Kergin