Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Swan Blogging

Last Saturday two types of swans were present at the Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge: mute swan and tundra swan. As someone else has observed, the two species were in conflict; a mute swan bullied the tundra swan when it had the opportunity. I saw this happen, but my pictures do not document the incident. Instead I caught a more peaceful moment, when the two species were in close proximity without fighting.

The mute swan swam away with its wings posed in a classic arched position.

The tundra swan was left alone with the Canada geese at the edge of the West Pond.

The first time I saw tundra swans was on a field trip with the DC Audubon Society. On the way back from the Blackwater NWR, a few of us stopped to look at some waterfowl in a field next to the highway. Along with snow geese and northern pintails there was a strong contingent of tundra swans. As we looked at the congregation of birds, I gradually perceived the whistling calls of the swans among the chatter. This sound, which gave the species its former name of whistling swan, struck me then as having some kind of strange, ethereal quality, like an otherworldly chorus.

See more critters at this week's Friday Ark.