Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another late afternoon swan visitation

Ah, visitation with the annual Trumpeter Swans - but in these cases, I'm the visitor to their wintering grounds. I was taking a brief moment before darkness would cover the Valley to see if increased numbers of these great white flyers were dotting the otherwise pale farm scape of the season. I pulled off a small area north of Carnation on one of my many little roads when I thought I saw two Ring-necked Pheasants across the way in the corn stubble of a summer corn/silage field. Sure enough, to lovely pheasants walking along. Too far off to photograph, but I still gave them a thumbs-up in their efforts to keep from sight of a very close by WDFW land area open for hunting season. Then I heard the sounds of what I would envision as poorly playing middle school trumpet players in the sky above me!

Sure enough, a group of five Trumpeter Swans were coming in to the same field I happened to be scanning for other birds. They circled the field three times, as if to first be waiting for the all clear from the control tower of an airport. By pass #3 I was set up with my gear and photographed them coming in to land. Then more came, two passing by a stunning color of light in the bright western sky as clouds broke before sunset! They all gathered in the field, and the last landing group seemed to be wanting to pick a fight upon landing. But chaos settled down to civil honking and jabbering, and all were happily eating soon together.

I sense this field might be an evening "roost" for the group as it was late in the day. But I intend on continuing to look and learn more about their behaviors at this field! THIS is why I love nature and wildlife photography so much - the ongoing challenges for learning, for understanding the biology behind my subjects is far more exciting that understanding the technology behind taking the photographs. Bring on more challenges from nature, I'm ready!

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