Trumpeter Swans!

We took a drive down the Seward Highway today, since the sun finally made a return visit. After rounding the turn after Portage Glacier, we came upon the lovely wetlands alongside that part of the highway and I spotted…white globs in the water.

As we approached more closely, I suddenly realized that what I was seeing were about 50 trumpeter swans, resting on their migration route! We pulled over to the side of the road, much to the annoyance of several drivers, and sat watching and photographing these magnificent birds.

Adults and young, they paddled along; then all stop, and tip upside down in unison, white feathers pointed to the sky (grey for the young), to feed on whatever it is that swans eat. Then in a wonderful display of power and grace, several lifted off from the water, presumably to continue the long journey to the winter nesting grounds.

What a great day this has been.

Is anyone else thinking, “watercress sandwiches… at least in Manhattan”?

Congrats to your birdwatching, Chefguy. A lovely description of, I’m sure, an even lovelier sight.


Crap. Poster: Chefguy Topic: Birds

I was hoping for a recipe.


Funny you should mention swans.

This weekend we were at the petting farm and as soon as the birds saw the feed bag in my son’s hand, they came hauling ass up from the pond. Including two Black Swans. I was immediately on edge, because in my experience swans are mean-spirited, nasty birds. I envisioned them knocking my son down and I figured I was going to have to kick some swan ass. I felt like a pro wrestler cracking his knuckles as I hurried to intercept them, thankful that these weren’t really large swans.

To my surprise, these swans were fairly gentle. And very tame. I got to touch their big back feet, and a half-dozen times got to gently wrap my palms around the cob’s neck to feel how it moved (like a feathered snake–creepy and cool all at once!)

My first day at work in Alaska, my boss and I headed down to Turnagin to check out an Orca pod. Would frequently see Baluga Whales there as well.

Later that summer, I laid on the North Slope tundra about 50 yards from a herd of 12 Musk Ox and video taped them for half an hour. Same with the caribou.

Sat on a mound housing a family of Arctic Fox in Prudhoe as they laid out soaking up the sun and scampering all about.

What a bountiful state.