First Spring Visitors to the Pond

They brought me out of hibernation.

It’s been a long winter, not record temperatures, but record snow, all the way into March and April. The Pond started to melt just last week. Then they all came, so fast. I’m amazed at the varieties, some I haven’t seen before.

One evening last week:


American White Pelicans in the evening light, welcome back!

American White Pelicans.jpg

And then from a distance, some I wasn’t familiar with:

New visitors.jpg

A white hood, not a Bufflehead. The sun was setting quickly, and I must say goodbye, not for long though.

Went back next morning and saw them. I wouldn’t have known if not for another photographer who told me they were Hooded Mergansers, rare visitors to the Pond. Only the male is white-hooded. The female looks like the Common Merganser female which always reminds me of Lucille Ball for some reasons:

Rare Visitors.jpg

Hooded male.jpg

The Great Blue Heron, frequent visitor to the Pond, a bit shy as I approached:

Great Blue Heron.jpg

Takes off.jpg

The Lesser Scaup:

Lesser Scaup.jpg

Northern Shovelers playing catch:


Just as I was leaving, I was stunned to see these beautiful creatures flying above. I wasn’t ready but still able to snap a couple of photos. Not until I went back home and did some search did I realize I’d just seen a ballet of Trumpeter Swans in the sky:

Trumpeter Swans.jpg

Swans 1

Don’t fly away, stop by the Pond next time!




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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

12 thoughts on “First Spring Visitors to the Pond”

    1. My lens actually is very minimal 70-300mm. Glad the effects aren’t all that bad. But there’s no way I can use my iPhone to shoot birds. 🙂


  1. Your heron in flight is exquisite. Not a shed of blur — lucky you! I’d kill for one like that! And don’t you love the mergansers? I do — they are my favorites. My first sighting ever was at the lake last fall. Nice to know they hang by you. We never see the pelicans here. I love their white — and what a fabulous day to be there with all that big blue sky! Oh, I’m so glad your winter is going away, too. It’s long over due for spring!


    1. Jeanie,

      Not very clear, actually. By far your Twitter Heron is a much better pic. That was a marvellous shot. The merganser here that I rave about is the Hooded Merganser, mostly found in the East Coast or West Coast of N. Am, but seldom in Alberta. So I’m glad. I see the Common Mergansers quite often. And for Swans, these are my first two photos of them flying in the sky and right above the Pond. That was a magnificent view.


  2. Arti, I always look forward to your birding photography—we have similar visitors here in Denver, CO (S Platte River system). You knocked me out with the swans—I haven’t seen them here. Thank you so much.
    PS I think your Middlemarch in May sounds intriguing!


    1. Heather,

      It was an amazing sight for me too. And I didn’t even know they were Swans, but they were so graceful and so purely white.

      As for the Middlemarch in May Read-Along, the more the merrier. You’re most welcome to join us. There’s no obligation to post anything, it’s just if you like, you can leave a comment on whoever that posts about it. Or send a tweet. 🙂


    1. I’ve taken pics of our shy herons before. But the last two shots, the Trumpeter Swans in the sky, those are my very first. First time I saw swans flying by in the sky. Those two are my faves. 🙂


  3. Some of these I’m familiar with, like the shovelers. Others appear from time to time, like the mergansers, but they’re very uncommon. And a few I’ve never seen — like those swans. I noticed just recently that our white pelicans have disappeared, right on schedule. I miss seeing them on their pilings, but it’s always fun to see them in their summer digs with you.

    I found a pair of black-bellied whistling ducks this weekend who already have babies traililng along behind them. My first photos were terrible, my second set was just passable. Knowing more about their daily habits now, I’m going to try for some good photos this weekend. And yesterday! I saw a Baltimore oriole, one of the migratory birds passing through just now. it killed me to miss the good shot of it just sitting on a post. By the time I stopped the car, grabbed the camera, and changed lenses, it was in flight. But at least I captured those glorious colors. I’d never seen one of those, either.

    Happy spring, indeed!


    1. Linda,

      You see the Hooded Mergansers is a rare sight. The mergansers we have here are the Common Mergansers, as the name denotes. 🙂 Also, the swans were stunning. We’re still in melting mood, but today’s going to go all the way up to 20C (the high 60’s in F). And also, there are the Great Horned Owls. I saw the father watching over the nest, haven’t seen the mom or babies yet. But soon I think. All best in your spring (or is it summer already?) exploration!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your description of a “ballet” of swans is apt, and magnifies their beauty. I love the white-on-white of the pelicans, too — Oh, they are all beautiful birds! I’ve never seen most of them… Thank you for your loving art!


    1. Gretchen,

      I was going to say they reminded me of ballet dancers, then I checked on google and found that, among all the descriptive words for swans, there’s actually a collective phrase: A ballet of swans. A perfect fit! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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