Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trumpeter Swans



I have heard about the swans on the news and read about their arrival in the paper.
The weather was perfect to take a short trip to see the much talked about swans.

Nobody can fully explain why these birds took a liking to this one small oxbow lake a few miles east of Heber Springs, Arkansas.

With just one look, I could see what all of the publicity was about....


The swans were so graceful as they glided across the lake. Each one had small variances of color. They get whiter with age. The sun shining on them was breathtaking.





The lake was covered with swans, ducks and a few geese. A couple standing beside me said they had counted up to 200 on the water.




Normally, these guys live in the Midwest, Alaska and even Wyoming, but never as far South as Arkansas. For some reason, this certain group has chosen Heber Springs and returns there every year.

The phenomenon started when 3 swans showed up on the lake in the winter of 1991. The following winter a Minnesota swan that had been banded visited the lake with her mate. In 1993, that same swan was spotted with her mate and three baby swans. It's believed the original 3 got knocked off course by a storm. They must have liked what they found, because they came again...and brought their friends and family. I think the word spread far and wide that an automatic feeder with shelled corn was waiting for their arrival.

I loved watching them turn upside down to feed off the bottom....little feet just paddling away.

The long neck was perfect to reach in the hollow tree, looking for corn that got away.



They are the largest waterfowl in North America, weighing 25 to 30 pounds. Wing span is about 8 feet.....




I stayed for over an hour watching them. They were fascinating. There were cameras snapping all around me. Some had tripods and lens to die for......


When I got home and loaded my many, many shots on the computer, one really stood out and brought back a wonderful memory....




This one looks just like a planter that my mother had. The top of the swans back was hollow and she always had a green plant in it. I wish I had that planter......

16 comments:

Farmchick said...

They are so, so beautiful. How cool is it that they are in Arkansas?!

MarieElizabeth said...

What a wonder surprise at this time of year. So lovely.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Wow---what a fabulous little trip you had... I've been to Heber Springs --but it's been years... We used to stay at Fairfield Bay for a week (when I had a timeshare)....

I'd love to see the swans... They are so gorgeous and your pictures are wonderful, all of them... I'm so glad you got to see them.

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Oh, Nanny! What a wonderful treat to see!! I can't imagine how this must have been in real life! WOW! So glad you got to see it and thank you for sharing it with us. your photos are awesome!!

BTW, the lens Amanda was talking about is a cheapy for the Canon Rebel. It is an EF 50mm f/1.8 II. We both really like it.

tootie said...

How pretty!!

granolachic said...

OMG! We are reading: Trumpet of the Swan. We have almost finished it and are planning to take a trip to see them. Thanks for the pictures!! The kids LOVE them!

grammy said...

We have tons of Geese...but no Swans.
They are so fun to watch and I enjoyed them while on Long Island.

Rose said...

these are beautiful birds. it's fun watching them in a group when they realize someone has something to offer for a meal take care rose

Mr. Bill said...

Those swans are awesome!

Deb said...

how lucky you are to have them there...so beautiful...

Solar Powered said...

I wish we could have been there. These pictures are so good.

Jill said...

Nanny, this is a REAL treat! These photos are just so beautiful! What a wonderful "field trip" you had. These birds are truly amazing. I remember or have seen the swan planters your mother had. I think you should look for one on ebay or at auction. ;)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I've always liked swans since childhood because of the "Ugly Duckling" story. They are so beautiful and I've read that they mate for life. You are lucky this group has moved into your area..you photos are so beautiful, Nanny! I love the "bottoms up" shot!

Mary said...

What a wonderful day this must have been. Your photos are remarkable. The swans really are gorgeous, graceful birds. I've been told they can be mean as can be, but the ones we have on the river are people shy so I've never seen anything that would back that statement up. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Marya

Amanda said...

Oh, wow! You really do find the most breathtaking things to take pictures of. I always enjoy what you share. Makes me feel like in some small way, I'm getting to "stop and smell the roses" along with you. =)

Solar Powered said...

I had to come back and look at these pictures again. Little sad that I didn't get to be there. The pictures are so peaceful, I can't imagine what it was like in real life. They bring tears to my eyes...almost like they are angelic.