Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jan 27, 2013: Erv's Field Notes #52

Panorama of south lake looking west to north from southeast shore. I counted 11 swans on the lake tonight.  1/27/13 (Kevin Kane)

Saturday, January 26, 2013. 2:00 pm. Sunny, brisk wind from the southwest, Temperature 26 degrees F.
I parked in the lot on Harrison Street and walked east on the path around the south lake. Along the way I checked the cedar trees where I have found owl pellets on previous walks but there were none there today. Perhaps the owl has moved on. The area of open water is smaller today; we have had several nights of single-digit temperatures. The large flock of Canada Geese is still here along with a few dozen Cackling Geese and Mallards. A couple of Common Mergansers were swimming in the open water and the lone Redhead, the one that has been here since November, was seen but it no longer seems to be associated with the Mallards.

I met up with Wolf Oesterreich and asked him about the ten Trumpeter Swans that he has been seeing the last several days. He said they don’t show up until about 4 pm.

A lone swan that has been on the lake for nearly a month turned out to be a Tundra Swan. After the Trumpeters came, the Tundra Swan began coming and going with them every day. Where do they go? We have no clue; probably somewhere there is food. Tundra Swans nest in northwest Canada and Alaska and most of them winter on the East Coast from Maryland to the Carolinas. They are migratory through Minnesota and Wisconsin and northern Iowa and large numbers can be seen on the Mississippi River around LaCrosse, WI in the fall. This one has strayed from the usual migratory path of this species and it seems it has decided to stay the winter in Iowa.

I finished my walk around the lake about 3:30 and decided to go to the grocery store before returning to the park about 4:10 to see the swans. There they were, four adults, one with a red neckband. After a few minutes four more flew in from the west, two adults and two juveniles. All eight were Trumpeters. I did not stick around to see if the Tundra returned later. You early morning walkers might want to look for it.

Erv Klaas

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