I spent part of my morning yesterday being serenaded by the calls of thousands of Tundra Swans at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah. It won’t be long before the swans leave and head north to their breeding grounds. Their calls are as delightful to me as the calls of the Sandhill Cranes. There is something timeless about those sounds.
I took over 400 hundred images yesterday morning of the Tundra Swans and of them all I found I liked the image above the most with a single swan in flight with the snow-covered Promontory Mountains in the distant background. Even though the swan was distant when I viewed this image it felt intimate to me.
Some of the swans were feeding, preening, bathing and some were taking off for morning flights. Tundra Swans have to run a long way to lift their large bodies into the air which gave me time to get quite a few lift off shots.
Of all the Tundra Swans I photographed yesterday there were two adult flying together with markers on their necks, U974 and U961, that I reported to the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory. I can’t wait to find out where they were banded and how old they are now.
Seeing and photographing these large, graceful swans is always a delight for me but especially on a day with plenty of light. In the image above I like how the top swan’s wing position is different than the three flying below it and how similar the wing position is for those three swans.
I was able to get a few close shots as some of the swans flew past. This one seems to have a feather on its bill which probably got stuck when the swan was preening.
If you live in Utah and want to see some Tundra Swans I would highly recommend seeing and hearing them at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge but you had better hurry because they will soon migrate to their breeding grounds on the tundra in the far north.
Life is good.