Finally – after nearly a week without access to the Internet, my service was restored this evening. Yes!! This interruption was the stimulus that I needed to change my ISP. Technology upgrade coming up!
Waterfowl hunting season is over. The end of hunting season always makes me feel better about wandering around outdoors – there is always the fear that someone will mistake me for a goose as I hike about. More importantly, immediately after the hunters leave the wetlands, hundreds of waterfowl (swans, geese, ducks) begin to congregate. I always joke that the birds know when it is safe to return. However, the reality is that the end of the hunting season and the arrival of the earliest spring migrants occur at approximately the same time.
Yesterday as I sat at my desk looking toward Big Valley Mountain, hundreds of tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) were flying around. Perhaps fifteen groups of varying size were moving in all directions. Those groups in the distance flashed white as they caught the sun – spectacular against the dark green of the trees on the mountain. I could see the black legs and bills contrasting with the pure white feathers of the closer birds. I watched the swans fly about for a half hour until they landed in the nearby wetlands and rice fields.
The tundra swans winter in our area, but are rather scarce until late January. I noted the arrival of the first swans in early November. From now until late February or early March, when they begin their migration to Alaskan or Arctic breeding grounds, these beautiful birds will be here. At night I love to listen to their calls as they fly overhead in the dark.
This picture was taken as a small group of swans flew away from a water catchment area near Nubieber CA.