Friday, January 9, 2009

PhotoFriday: White (Tundra Swans)

Minnesota is a pretty good place to live if you want to take pictures of swans. Not only do we have trumpeter swans nesting in Minnesota, as well as in near by western Wisconsin, but during migration periods we also usually get a visit from thousands of tundra swans.
Tundra swans nest up near the arctic coast of Canada, Alaska and Siberia. They typically spend the winter on either the east or west coast.
While migrating, tundra swans usually travel in flocks. In the late fall many of these flocks begin to join together in staging areas near the Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa border.
The swans use the time that they spend staging on the Mississippi to search the shallow waters near Brownsville, MN for aquatic vegetation , like wild celery and arrowhead tubers, which they eat.
Swans migrating through this area in the fall are typically heading for the east coast and will probably spend the winter on ponds and lakes along the east coast, near Chesapeake Bay, or further down the coast in marsh lands in Virginia or North Carolina. They usually begin to arrive in early November and will leave around Thanksgiving, weather permitted.
Tundra swans are smaller then trumpeter swans, although it is difficult to identify a trumpeter from a tundra based on size unless you have members of each species side by side. Since his does not often happen, the way that I distinguish between these two types of swans is by the tear drop yellow mark that tundra swans usually have on their beak under their eyes. Trumpeter swans have no such mark, their bills are completely black. The yellow mark is pretty noticeable on the pictures above, all tundra swans, however if you take a look at my last post you will notice the all black bill that the trumpeters have.


Leedra said...

Would love to see these in person, thanks for sharing.

Dawn Fine said...

What amazing photos you took of these Swans..
I like the last one...looks like it is ready to give a big hug!

Glennis said...

So beautiful, such great photos. Good work.

Gemma Wiseman said...

What glorious incredible photos of the swan's wings in action!