22 OCTOBER 1954, Page 14

Swan Escort A happier encounter with birds was my journey

in the company of a flight of swans. 1 was driving along a stretch of straight road when I caught sight of six swans coming diagonally across a field towards me. They were flying six or eight feet from the ground in a tight formation. I wondered just what would happen when they reached the road. Their line of flight brought us to the same place at the same moment. They crossed the low hedge and instead of rising they turned and flew with me. I was not going at any great speed but I was too astonished to check the speedometer as we all went on together. The members of my escort were untroubled by my presence, but a motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction looked amazed. The swans remained on my nearside and how long it might have gone on I do not know, but we came to an electric cable crossing the road, and things changed. The swans could have gone under it, but they chose to rise and, rising, they must have seen the water to which they were flying, for they turned away from the road and I found myself wandering towards the ditch. Driving and bird-watch- ing at the same time is a combination not approved of by the police.