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On my way to town yesterday morning I just happened to have a camera in my pocket. As I passed a pond, I thought I saw something white. Put on the brakes and parked at the side of the road – and this is what I saw through the snow flurries
I dared to move much closer, luckily without disturbing them.
As you can see, there are Tundra Swans in the foreground with Canada geese behind them. I believe these are Whistling Swans because of their mostly black beaks. The younger ones are grayish colored..
Upon my return, I stopped once more. This time only the geese were present, but still a lovely scene.
Tundra Swans are sometimes divided into Whooper Swans, Whistling Swans and Trumpeter Swans. I remember seeing them in flight a few years ago and noting how different they seemed from the noisy flight of geese.
The male Whistling Swan weighs about 16 pounds while the female weighs about 14 pounds. The Tundra Swans mate in the late spring, usually after they have returned to the nesting grounds; as usual for swans, they pair monogamously until one partner dies. Should one partner die long before the other, the surviving bird often will not mate again for some years, or even for its entire life. The nesting season starts at the end of May. The pair build the large mound-shaped nest from plant material at an elevated site near open water, and defend a large territory around it. The time from laying to hatching is 30–32 days for the Whistling Swan. Tundra Swan cygnets grow faster than those of swans breeding in warmer climates; those of the Whistling Swan take about 60–75 days to fledge. The fledglings stay with their parents for the first winter migration. The average lifespan in the wild is about 10 years. More details can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tundra_Swan
Today’s sighting was breathtaking!
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