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 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.
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…
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.