Sunday, October 5, 2014 Tundra and Trumpeter Swan on the move

Potter's Marsh south of Anchorage, Alaska

Sunday, October 5, 2014 Tundra and Trumpeter Swans on the Move
Potter's Marsh south of Anchorage, Alaska

Mid-afternoon and 120 miles from Seward, I stopped briefly at a Potter's Marsh pullout to enjoy watching a small group of swans. A single TUNDRA SWAN, smaller, and with a yellow patch on its bill, lingered near the scattered pairs of TRUMPETERS that were busy preening and paddling to and fro. Spitting snow and a cold north wind lent a sense of urgency to the scene. Accompanied by murmurs and gentle honking, the swans bobbed their graceful heads up and down, sometimes alternately, sometimes in synchrony. Decisions were being made.

Abruptly, one Trumpeter bobbed deeply and then dramatically reared back, wings raised wide and ready for action. The targeted swan stretched its giant wings in response but quickly turned to half-run, half-fly just out of reach of the threatening open beak and arched neck of the angry swan. The sudden attack ended after a short chase, no physical harm inflicted, just wounded pride. The Tundra swan watched it all from a safe distance behind them. All is not peace and harmony with these angelic-looking swans!

Further consultations by the aggrieved Trumpeter swan pair, evidenced by the increasing tempo of head bobbing, (so fascinating to watch!) resulted in a decision to fly off to another section of the marsh. The smaller Tundra swan flew off with them, apparently accepted as an amicable migratory companion.

The spectacular swan show resolved, I got back to the welcome warmth of my car and migrated down the road, south, to my home.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter
on the road

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