Tuesday, April 28, 2015

See You Later

So, the title of this post is "See You Later."  You're probably thinking I'm done with this blog as my writings have lightened up a bit as of late from grad school, right?

Well, no, I'm not done.  In an odd sort of way, I'm bidding farewell....

The bird above is a Tundra Swan.  The shape of the black bill and the yellow spot at its base rule out the Trumpeter Swan (the lookalike cousin from the American West) and the Mute Swan (hopefully eradicated from the state with high velocity lead injections in the future). 

I snapped this picture in early March.  (I had hoped to post it here shortly after I took it,  but I never really had the time to do it.)  With waterproof gear and those little pocket warmer thing-a-ma-bobs, I slowly moved  out on to the Trenton Channel where this bird was sitting on the ice. I estimate that I crawled on my belly at least 200 feet out from the shore.  I needed to move slow as I did not want to disturb him.

The previous paragraph is largely a crock.  Yeah, I took the picture in March. That's about it....

In truth, the bird was hanging out in Elizabeth Park in Trenton. The waterfowl there were, well,....tame largely from all of the public feedings. Well, okay, they were not completely tame, but they certainly were not as edgy as their wild counterparts.  Once I sat on the shore, they settled in and didn't seem to mind me.  

His name might tell you a bit about him.  "Tundra" is a reference to the breeding grounds.  If you're thinking Trenton and Tundra are about 1,918 miles apart, you would be right, give or take a few hundred miles.  I can assure you this bird is long gone as I type here tonight on a beautiful late April evening.  Assuming he is alive (you never know), he is en route to the polar regions.  Hell, he might already be there.

So, will I see him again?

Yeah, quite possibly.

Knowing how migration can sometimes work, it is very possible that this very bird will hang out at Elizabeth Park again this coming winter. Or he could hang with thousands of his buddies a few miles south of Trenton in the open water of the Detroit River. In any case, we can be hope he will be winging his way into the region by Halloween.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves.  I'm not looking to the fall yet.  After all, we have not even hit the month of May!  That's the month birders dream about in these parts.  Gillions of little songbirds of just about every conceivable color will be heading north right through our parks and neighborhoods.  Many would argue that it is the single best month for birding.  Natalie and I are looking forward to it.

That said, autumn will eventually get here.  That's a fact.  

As for my Tundra Swan buddy?  Perhaps I'll be seeing him later....

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