Swans on frozen lake

Half frozen or half melted? Not a trick question, or a philosophical pondering on half full or half empty. The answer is factual. By mid October, the lake was frozen already. But by the end of the month, it began to melt. So there you go, beauty in double measure, not half. As for the birds, they can handle both.

And on that half frozen, half melted lake I saw them. Thanks to some fellow birders alerting me. Who would have expected to see swans stopping by here? They must be migrating from the Tundra, flying south to the US. And we’re their midway rest stop. Just a few days of respite here in sunny (most of the time) Southern Alberta.

The following pics are from a long distance, so quite blurry. I think I saw a Trumpeter here with a juvenile. Ice on lake? No problem. It’s Nature’s dance floor. Let’s just call it a father-daughter dance here:


Here are several Tundra Swans, noting the yellow edge of the bill:

A couple of days later, I saw this solitary juvenile swan at the Pond some distance away from the lake. Not sure if it was lost. Even though just by itself, I could sense its calmness… eat some, swim some, preen some, always congenial, thoroughly enjoying the environs there. How do I know it’s a juvenile? From its greyish plumage, pink bill, and yellowish tan feet:

While I was taking its photos, I saw in a distance a group of large birds in the sky heading my way. What an opportune timing! I quickly snapped these shots as they flew over me. When I uploaded the pics, lo and behold, I saw they were Tundra Swans. This time quite clearly. The yellow patch by the edge of the bill is the distinct difference from the Trumpeter. And learned a new word to call them: a wedge of swans (in flight).

I don’t have a garden, so no canning of harvest for the winter. But these photos and sightings will be my canned treats for the frozen months ahead… yes, something like Proust’s madeleine dipped in tea.

***

Related Posts:

Proust’s madeleine? Here it is.

One duck at a time

Two Trees Make a Forest: A Book Review

Published by

Arti

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

13 thoughts on “Swans on frozen lake”

  1. Oh Arti, what a breathtaking treat to see those swans and get those photos! Did you get to hear their calls too? I can also imagine a breeze, the sound of the water on the shore, the feel of the sun. I hope the photos and your memories sustain you throughout the coming winter months.

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    1. They were so far away I heard nothing. No sound of the water either, as the part closest to the shore was frozen. All the birds were a distance way out in the middle of the lake. But it was sunny with the colourful blue, both sky and water. After a couple of days when I went back they were gone. Yes, quite a memory this will be.

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  2. The water and ice are beautiful with those sky reflections in them. And as for the birds — what a treat. They’re as graceful as any ballerina on your ‘swan lake,’ and I love your analogy. Canned treats for winter, indeed. As a friend says, autumn’s for photographing, while winter’s for sorting and processing. Of course, winter’s also for enjoying these beautiful sights all over again.

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    1. My 300mm tele lens just wasn’t enough as the birds were so far away in the middle of the lake. Another birder had a 600mm. I’m sure he got wonderful pics. for his canning.

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    1. That day was sunny and warm. So, all good. As for the collective noun to describe swans, a wedge is used only when they are in flight, maybe to describe their V shape flying in the sky. When they’re on the ground, it’s bevy and several other words… I love this one the most: a ballet of swans.

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    1. Wedge is used when they’re in flight. I love the other one to describe them when they’re on the ground: a ballet of swans. There are others words too, but this is perfect.

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  3. I can imagine you there and seeing these beautiful swans right in front of you! What treasures you have found. Thank you for including us in your discoveries. They are truly so beautiful!

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