|Tundra Swans, near Morse, SK., heading to the far north for summer. |
(Recognizable by bright yellow spots on their bills - and still
so early in the year that ice remains on the reeds in the pond.) © SB
Tundra Swans are easily recognizable – except when they're not... Most have a bright yellow spot in front of their eyes, which makes the ID process easy — but a small percentage do not have this, according to the Sibley Guide. And that's when things can get complicated in places where Trumpeter Swans may also pass through, as the two species are very similar, especially when seen separately.
As we drove further west — approaching Canmore, Alberta — we saw another group of swans in a roadside pond, and noticed that local birders had seen Trumpeters nearby. None of the six we watched closely had yellow bill spots... Which may make those in the next two images below Trumpeter Swans. Or Tundra exceptions. (Sibley has a list of ways to tell the two species apart, on the guide link, above. In this case, none helped.)
|A possible Trumpeter Swan, near Banff, Alberta. © SB|
|It's not all elegant floating for a swan... First you dabble upside down, |
then you dry your pond-dirty neck with a little serene sailing.
(Larger version of the Trumpeter Swan crop, above.) © SB
|Tundra Swan in flight in Regina, over Wascana Lake.|
(Yes, these lovely birds spend time in our city of their way north, too.) © SB
|Tundra Swans taking off on Last Mountain Lake, near Craven, SK © SB|
|Tundra Swans in flight over Last Mountain Lake, near Craven, SK. © SB|
What are these? Tundra Swans — and Trumpeter Swans? (Cygne siffleur et Cygne trompette)
Location: 1: Near Morse, SK; 2 & 3: Near Canmore, AB; 4: Regina, SK; 6 & 7: Valeport Marsh, SK (south end of Last Mountain Lake).
Photo dates: 1: April 10, 2016; 2 & 3: April 12, 2016; 4: April 29, 2012; 6 & 7: March 25, 2012.