Tundra Swans Lifting Off from Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

/, Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Birds, Box Elder County, Tundra Swans, Utah/Tundra Swans Lifting Off from Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Tundra Swans running on iceTundra Swans running on ice – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It was clear, bright and relatively mild yesterday at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the signs of spring are popping up all over including seeing over twenty Sandhill Cranes on and near the refuge. Hearing the cranes call again always fill me with joy though I couldn’t’ get close enough to take high quality images of them I was able to get close enough to two small groups of Tundra Swans at the refuge that were out on the ice on the south side of the auto tour loop. The swans sat on the ice for a while and then began to show signs that they were about to lift off.

Tundra Swans gaining speed for lift offTundra Swans gaining speed for lift off – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/5000, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Tundra Swans can lift off from water or land but they do need a long, open “runway” to accomplish flight unlike ducks who seem to be able to blast off immediately. These swans ran across the ice with their wings flapping and their feet propelling them forward.

Tundra Swans at lift offTundra Swans at lift off – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

After a few more flaps of their snow white wings and a final push off from the ice I could tell that the swans were airborne…

Tundra Swans after lift off from iceTundra Swans after lift off from ice – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When they tucked their feet under their tails. As the swans flew higher into the air they made a wide arch and flew towards the east where there are farmer’s fields where they can find corn and grains to feed on.

There were far more Tundra Swans at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area north of Bear River MBR but they were much further away from me than these swans were.

Watching and photographing the Tundra Swans lifting off from Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge yesterday was slightly bittersweet for me because I know they will soon be heading north to mate and raise their young and I know that I will miss them while they are gone.

Life is good.

Mia

9 Comments

  1. Lois Bryan February 27, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    magnificent!!!!!!!!!

  2. Utahbooklover February 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Lovely series Mia. The contrast in flight patterns between ducks and swans is striking!

  3. Elephant's Child February 27, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Yet another illustration of avian superiority. If I attempted to walk on ice, never mind run, I would be face planting with speed.
    Stunning images.

  4. April Olson February 27, 2016 at 10:53 am

    One of my favorite things is to sit and watch Tundra Swans.I love the sound they make as they battle and try to out trumpet each other. Three weeks ago there were hundreds at Farmington Bay. The bay to the west and south were still mostly ice. The swans moved closer to me as I settled in and stopped moving. I sat on top of one of the metal bridges for 4 hours watching, listening and soaking up the sun. It will be one of my most memorable days in my life.

  5. Wally February 27, 2016 at 10:09 am

    What magnificent birds! Your series of images is spectacular!

  6. Patty Chadwick February 27, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I can almost feel the power in those huge wings as they lift those big birds off the water!

  7. Roger Burnard February 27, 2016 at 8:30 am

    ANOTHER SEQUENCE NICELY DONE MIA… GOOD JOB TRACKING YOUR SUBJECTS!!

  8. Bob mcpherson February 27, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Awesome photos Mia.

Comments are closed.