Sunday, January 01, 2017

Mute swan

The Campbell River estuary is a waterfowl haven, with the Tyee Spit reaching out to protect it from the currents and winds of the Discovery Passage, and the many small islands dotting the delta providing food, nesting and resting sites. Ducks, both dabblers and divers, Canada geese, loons, and gulls spread out over the water, usually too far away for my camera's lens. Inshore, near the docks and a viewpoint, a flock of mallards and wigeons hang out, hoping for handouts from visitors to a small park.

I had been told to watch for swans with the mallards; a couple of trumpeters and a mute swan. I met the mute swan a couple of days ago.

The mute swan, Cygnus olor, is easily identified by the black bulge above the bill.

Swan and female mallard. The swan grows to about 5 feet long, with a 6-foot wing span.

The trumpeter swan is slightly larger, has no lump on the forehead, and prefers to hang out in flocks. The mute swan is a loner.

The raised wings may be a defensive or aggressive display.

Unfortunately, local residents have taken to feeding the swan bits of bread, not a good addition to its diet. Here, it's waiting for the latest handout.

I'll keep on looking for the trumpeters; they are rumoured to have a nest in the area.


  1. 28 April 2015 - Ontario: York Region: Humber River, 1.45 km SSW QEW/Humber River. 30M/11, 43.62125N 79.48036W TIME: 1838-1847. AIR TEMP: 15°C, sunny, calm. HABITAT: footbridge over Lake Ontario mouth of small urban river in wooded/lawnpark. OBSERVER: Frederick W. Schueler. 2015/079/f, Cygnus olor (Mute Swan) (Bird). 1 adult, seen, heard, kicked. I was aggressively approached by a maleish Swan which hissed and spread its wings, until I gently kicked it in the face, at which point it huffily swam back across the river. I've often wondered how combatative of these acculturated Swans might be, and evidently they're shy of being even moderately resisted.

  2. A gorgeous swam. I read in another blogger friend's post that the Trumpeters are congregating again in farmers' fields in the Skagit Valley. When we go south we always look for them along the freeway. - Margy

  3. Doing the trumpeter swan count, we are not seeing them where they used to gather, but I saw a field full on the edge of Comox; a couple of hundreds, at least.


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