Sunday, March 11, 2012

Swan on Northfield Pond

I stopped by the Superior Drive pond around midday today and was greeted by a fantastic new arrival: a lone swan, surrounded by ring-necked ducks. This was my first sighting of a swan on this pond.

Telling tundra swans from trumpeter swans is tricky, but based on guidance from the Sibley Guides website, I think this is a tundra swan. The narrow line of black connecting the black bill to the eye, and the U-shape of the line connecting one eye to the other, seem to confirm the identification; the connection is thicker and more V-shaped in the trumpeter swan.

I was pretty sure I'd been seeing a large group of lesser scaup at the pond during my previous visits, but certainly today they were ring-neckeds (the tall head with the strong angle at the back, and the very noticeable pale ring near the tip of the bill are key indicators).

Tundra swan with female ring-necked ducks

Ring-necked ducks (male)

We came back less than an hour later and saw the swan still there, but as I was pulling out my phone to alert a friend who lives nearby, it flew away. It's a good reminder that during migration (and really at any time) birds can come and go, so it doesn't hurt to check a good spot more than once a day if you have the chance. You never know what you might see.

1 comment:

Gene said...

Great sightings and very nice photographs.