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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pentwater River Residents

Driving over the Pentwater River today, I could see some birds off in the distance. I wondered if there was anything interesting, so I stopped.

Pentwater River

I zoomed in and it was just a bunch of Canada geese. Disappointing. But wait. There is something else out there. It's one of our native swans, the trumpeter or the tundra. Which one?

trumpeter swan

I think I've finally learned what to pay attention to. That said, these pictures are grainy because I had to zoom all the way out, including the digital zoom, which reduces picture quality. Both native swans have black bills and a straight profile from forehead to tip of beak. But the key difference, from a distance, is whether the black face patch connects to the eye. On this swan it definitely does. That makes it a trumpeter, Cygnus buccinator.

trumpeter swan

Every other time I thought I had a close shot of a trumpeter, it was a tundra swan. You can follow the link below, and even though those pictures are grainy too, you can clearly see a yellow spot that separates the eye from the black cheek.

You can also see a nice black V on the forehead.

trumpeter swan

The swan didn't really care what I thought, or what the geese thought. It was much more interested in completing some grooming.

trumpeter swan

I think my next swan goal needs to be to get close enough to get some decent pictures.

See Tundra Swan
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Ann said...

A nice catch. I just watched a movie the other day on the Hallmark channel that was about a family that had trumpeter swans in their pond

Duxbury Ramblers said...

Never seen one Joan but would love to it would have to be an escapee over here.

Secondary Roads said...

Beautiful capture. We've had the swans with orange bills nest a quarter mile north of here.

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