Swan River

It was a bright, sunny 0 F (-17C) when I walked up the trail to visit the Trumpeter Swans at Sucker Lake creek, the only open water in this area of the metro.  The snow didn’t so much crunch as it squeaked under my feet, but the cold doesn’t seem to bother the waterfowl at all.

The scene looked much like it did last January, but there were only a fraction of the swans I saw then.

The scene looked much like it did last January, but there were only a fraction of the swans I saw then.

Swans glided gracefully along the slow-moving creek above and below the bridge across it.  Beavers have been hard at work in this area, felling the birch trees; I wonder if this will impact the creek flow at some point this winter.

Their muted trumpets playing back and forth across the creek sounded like the brass solos of some orchestral piece.

Their muted trumpets playing back and forth across the creek sounded like the brass solos of some orchestral piece.

Swans seemed to stick together in small family groups.

Swans seemed to stick together in small family groups.

It is amazing how quickly they acclimate to the presence of humans just a few feet away.

It is amazing how quickly they acclimate to the presence of humans just a few feet away. Perhaps the same birds were here last year; the young ones (grayer) probably take their cues from the adults.

I didn't stay too long today; my hands and feet were cold.

I didn’t stay too long today; my hands and feet were cold. Only 6 days from the solstice, this is as high as the sun gets at 45 degrees north latitude at noon (21.5 degrees from the horizon).

17 thoughts on “Swan River

    • I love the fact that they are such big but graceful birds that I can walk right up to. I could have filled the field of the photo with their head or even eyeball. That’s a treat!

    • Thanks, Montucky. Yeah, for photo shoots on days like that, I need better gloves. Ski gloves are too cumbersome to focus with the shutter release.

  1. They are just beautiful. Are there a lot of pairs with cygnets in the spring? They are my favourite babies. Winter photography is all about cold hands. I think what we need is 2 pairs of gloves. A thin inner and a thick outer glove that you remove. I haven’t found the right combo yet, still looking.

    • The swan pairs don’t stay around this creek area to raise their chicks — I only see the end results in the fall and winter when they move back here. I’m not sure where exactly these swans breed. I have glove liners, but what a pain putting the big mitt on and off. Easier just to tolerate the cold hands.

  2. Way down upon the Swane River (apologies to Stephen Foster)…I love your photos of the swans, Sue. I particularly liked the one with the three swans–the body and bill positions are beautiful, almost like a ballet.

    • I knew I could count on you to “get” the title reference, and yes, I should have spelled it “Swane” instead (got to think like Mike!). You’re right, the trio is forming a geometric figure — an equilateral triangle.

  3. As a Florida gal I just wanted to let you know how much I love reading your articles and seeing your photos. I in particular love the ones that include birds, and shots of seasons that are not quite so prominent down here! This one with the swans, ducks, and snow just makes my day. I also really appreciate the facts/info on the many subjects you cover. It’s always nice to learn something new!

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