Trumpeter Swan, Magness Lake, Arkansas
We (Gardening Daughter, Granddaughter, Great-Granddaughter, and I) enjoyed our afternoon trip to Magness Lake, near Heber Springs, Arkansas. The lake, about 60 miles northeast of our home, is the late November to early March home for a flock (170-200) of Trumpeter Swans. Neither daughter nor I had seen these birds before, and the experience was well worth the trip.
Magness Lake is located on the E & W Wildlife Refuge. The area from which visitors can observe the swans is separated from the lake by a heavy wire fence which, fortunately, has openings in it large enough to accommodate the extended lens of a camera. All my photos were shot either through the fence or by standing on tip-toe to clear the fence.
We arrived at the lake around 3:15 and found it populated by a relatively small number of swans, myriad Ring-Necked Ducks, and one Graylag Goose. The photo below reminds me of a flotilla of aircraft carriers surrounded by tug boats!
Trumpeter Swans and Ring-Necked Ducks
gathering at the edge of the lake to eat shelled corn thrown by visitors
It's hard to judge the size of the swans in a photograph, but for comparison purposes, the Ring-Necked Ducks are 17" long. The swans are huge! And noisy! I wish I could have captured the sounds they were making.
Sorry -- fuzzy foto
I got only one photo of a Trumpter in flight, and that one was on the far side of the lake, taking off with a great "whump, whump, whump" of wings beating against the water. Even at a distance, though, it was easy to see that its wing-span was amazing -- from what I've read about them, the wing-span is around eight feet.
I took a lot of photos, but I found upon examination that I am more successful in capturing a flower (which doesn't move around) than I was at capturing wild life. I need more experience!
At center is a Greylag Goose, which also enjoys the free corn-handouts. The goose is about 34" long
Bottoms-Up! Juvenile Trumpeter Swan (note dark feathers) diving for corn thrown by Granddaughter
I judge this beautiful swan to be an adolescent - mostly white, as are adults,
with some remaining grey-brown feathers on head and neck.