Tundra Swans – Near and Far

Tundra swans are just starting to appear in the Upper Mississippi as they migrate from Canada and Alaska to the Chesapeake Bay.  It’s an incredible sight to see these huge creatures gather along with geese, ducks and various other waterfowl.  Several hundred are gathered about two miles south of us, barely visible from the main road.  Mark and I went to look at them yesterday, hiking down rocky embankments, over railroads and through thick brush.  As we neared the river’s edge, it became obvious that they were farther away than we had hoped.  Even with the binoculars, it was difficult to make out any details.  We tried hiking upstream in an attempt to get closer, but they were still too far away to get a decent photo.  The best I could get was this blurry image through the tree branches – sigh.  I pretty much gave up trying to take pictures but enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds.  Just the sound of all those birds honking and quaking together was worth the trip!

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As we stood there, Mark saw a feather in the water just two feet from us.  I’m not sure if it was from a swan or goose, but it looked so serene in the grassy water.  Trying not to fall in, I shot a couple of close-ups.  As it turns out, they were the best of the bunch – a nice little surprise!

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The afternoon wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.  Yes, I’m disappointed I didn’t get any decent swan pictures, but I’m thankful that I got something and that I got home – sometime I’ll write about the mishap with the train.

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