The Sly Swan
This week has been pretty exciting! The highlight of the week came on Friday. As you can probably guess by the title, this blog is about a swan!
On Friday we were invited out to the Blanca Wetlands to do a Snowy Plover preliminary count. The objective of this trip was to identify and assess the Snowy Plover habitat within the wetlands, and to search for any early birds…”pun intended”. While we did find that some dowitchers and yellowlegs had arrived, we did not find any Snowy Plovers. We found some available habitat but no birds quite yet. Earlier that week, Lisa (one of our expert birders) received word that there had been an unusual sighting of a swan at the wetlands. We are not located within the typical range for swans, but there are two species that come close so it would be unusual, but possible, for a swan to wander a bit too far east. As we pulled up to the pond we noticed it was full of ducks. So we pulled out the scopes and began identifying duck species. Earlier I mentioned how I observed a lone pelican at one of the ponds the other day. Jokingly, Lisa says, “Hey Alex, there is your pelican”…but then she stops and says, “Wait, that’s not a pelican, that’s a swan!” We immediately diverted our attention to the unusual sighting and began trying to identify the species. Being at one of the largest ponds, we could not get a good look at the distinguishing marks of the swan since it was on the opposite side of the pond. Tiff took some decent pictures and we tried our hardest to make a definitive decision on whether it was a Trumpeter or a Tundra Swan…but couldn’t do it. So we decided we would try and get a closer look! We grabbed the scopes and bird books and set off. It was a good walk and we had some small bluffs as cover, so we figured if we stayed behind them the swan would stay put and we could get up close and personal. We managed to get closer, but it was still not close enough to distinguish the field marks of the swan to determine its species so we trekked on. We were completely hidden behind the bluffs while moving, then came out from behind them to find that the swan had figured out he was special and started swimming away from us. We were unable to get a good look at it, so the species of Mr. Sly Swan remains a mystery. It was awesome to see, and I hope that it finds its crew, because Canada Geese don’t quite make the cut!So the picture above is us trying to be sneaky and get a good look at the swan. Despite this effort, it was not fooled and remained anonymous.