Monday, June 27, 2016 Trumpeter Swan family

Seward, Alaska

As I approached the Mile 1 Nash Road wetlands, a circling raptor caught my eye. I pulled over and watched a HARLAN’S HAWK spiral upwards as it called, “Keee-yurrrr!” I wonder if there might be a nest nearby?

Driving a bit farther, I spotted the TRUMPETER SWAN family about halfway out in the wetlands, feeding on the water horsetails ringing the edge. It’s been a while since I’ve been lucky enough to see them, and so I waited patiently.

To my delight, the whole family eventually worked its way closer and closer to the road, snatching horsetail salad all the way. The six-weeks old cygnets have grown considerably. Their necks are getting longer and their stubby wings have a bit of reach. Fuzzy white baby feathers lingered in tufts from their heads and in patches all over their new, gray juvenile plumage. In between feeding, they preened and stretched. It’s that awkward stage of in-between, but they are well on their way to becoming beautiful swans.

The proud parents watched their thriving brood carefully; one tried to take a little nap with eyes open. After dining briefly near the road, it was time to head back. With a subtle head bobbing, an adult led the whole gang away. They paddled leisurely through the horsetails as growing necks stretched ever higher and farther, munching all the way.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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