Thursday, September 21, 2017 Trumpeter Swan Families

Tern Lake and Seward

On my way home from Anchorage yesterday, I stopped at Tern Lake. Though the sun had already sailed behind the mountains, casting the serene lake into shadows, the TRUMPETER SWAN family was easy to see. As I watched from my car blind, the single cygnet led its parents to an apparently choice dining spot conveniently located right next to the road.

They reached down deep with their long necks, tails up, large webbed feet flailing the air, gobbling down long strands of aquatic plants. After what seemed to be a long time, down went the tail and up came the head, often with strands of salad dangling.

A few MALLARDS swam between them, snatching bits of left-overs. Behind them, a small raft of SCAUP napped with their heads tucked in. COMMON MERGANSERS dove nearby, probably chasing small fish.

Traffic was light, but several vehicles stopped. People popped out and walked right up to the feeding swans with whatever camera or phone they had to snap photos. I was amazed at the tolerance of the swans; the cygnet especially seemed totally unconcerned. I hope this naivety does not bring harm to these magnificent swans.

Today, I spotted the Nash Road Trumpeter Swan family feeding at the Lagoon, at the north end by the boardwalk. The parking lot of full of heavy machinery and noise from the underground power line project and the paving project. The Swans did not seem to mind a bit.

I slowly and quietly approached, partially screened by the surrounding trees to watch and take photos. The three cygnets looked so big and healthy! This family too, did a lot of tipping, but it seemed that usually one Swan kept its head above water, watching. Over the course of the afternoon, the Swans paddled down to the south end to feed, giving all who noticed them a big thrill.

Seward is very fortunate indeed to be graced by these five resident swans. It will be interesting to see if they too, stay all winter.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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