Monday, August 14, 2006

The Great Western Swan Hunt

I have been told that swans live around here, but have never seen them. The day that we were looking (and found) our forever home, two years and four months ago, our real estate guide pointed out one lake that swans were seen. However, he had us so mixed up that I never did figure out which lake he was talking about.

However! Let me repeat! HOWEVER!! Today was the day of days! If I may wax poetic, here, a serendipitous day! Sister Candy and I were going to the “local” Wal-Mart, forty miles from home and saw birds sitting on the muskrat houses in Heron Lake. I thought they were geese but they looked pretty white. Thought nothing of it.
On our way home, feeling smug for snapping up great deals at the antique store that is closing (I got my studio railing) we were cruising past Heron Lake; I looked to the opposite side and saw white birds in the water!

“Those are SWANS!!!!” screamed I. Candy braked and looked – then we looked to the side of the lake with the muskrat houses and sure enough, swans there, too!

But not one camera between the two of us (never again quoth I!!) We slowed down and looked and identified absolutely. And agreed that perhaps we might see them again if we went back with a camera.

After Candy dropped me off, I anxiously awaited Norm’s return from Wally’s, where he had gone for tractor parts. I could have gone without him (we now have two cars, until the green van is sold), but I knew he’d kill me if I went alone.

When he got home, I grabbed my camera bag with my new telephoto lens, my tripod, extra batteries – just in case – and we headed out. Norm told me he thought I was foolish to drive fifteen miles for birds that probably wouldn’t be there. I agreed but said it was worth a shot.

When we got there, we saw swans to the east of us, swans to the west of us. The east ones were clear on the other side of the lake, so Norm parked so I could sit on the floor of the van and set up my tripod and camera. I got several pictures of a pair of swans (the two that had been sitting on the muskrat houses) and also snapped a picture of a family of Canadian Geese.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

After the pair of swans headed into the cattails, we decided to turn around and head home. I looked at the pair of swans in the distance and happened to glance in the water next to the road. SWANS!!!!

There were three of them right next to the road. So Norm turned around and we parked on the side of the road so I could take more pictures.

We figured that these were another pair and a young one – perhaps last year’s baby? Hard to say, but the two that looked bigger have tags on their wings and the young (?) one doesn’t.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Looking in my trusty “Peterson’s North American Birds,” I see that we have them year round in this area. And, I was listening to the sound in the “Multimedia” disc I have and the sound is so close to a goose that we might be listening to swans, not geese some days – so I am going to go over to our little Lake Augusta and see if there might be some there, as well.

All in all, it was a great day! You have a beautiful, dream-filled day!

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Anonymous said...

Oooh Connie, you kept the best till last!
What an awesome experience, a real gift of nature.




Carla Lynne said...

Wow! That is great! They are beautiful, graceful creatures. It is said (tales) that they sing a beautiful song when mating and dying- haunting yet beautiful.

Ok... you have swans too. Just another stroke in the 'why I should move to Minnesota' column. ;-)

I love you and miss you!