|Yellow-rumped Warbler at St. Croix State Park in Minnesota|
|Palm Warbler at St. Croix State Park in Minnesota|
En route to the sewage ponds, two large white birds on a slough caught my eye. We have lots of American White Pelicans in our area, but as I cruised by at 65 MPH, I could tell these birds looked different. I circled back and was pleased to see two Trumpeter Swans. Trumpeter Swans nest in our area and aren't always migrants. I see them every so often, but their beauty and size is always captivating. Even non-birders are entrhalled with these magnificent birds. The Trumpeter has also been a special bird to me ever since my son and I read E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan a couple years ago. Imagine how thrilled we were when we later learned they are regulars in our area! Needless to say, it was a special find on this day that had no real birding objective.
|Trumpeter Swans and Mallards - West Central Minnesota|
|The size of the Trumpeter is incredible!|
|Trumpeter Swan and Mallards|
Most of the time I saw this when I watched this pair:
With those long necks, they had no problem feeding off the mucky bottom of this slough.
|Trumpeter Swan and Mallard|
After watching them for a little bit, it was time to get to those sewage ponds where I had no expectations but was excited for whatever bird surpises awaited me. We got there and saw enormous flocks of the usual Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls. But there were seven gigantic white blobs on the ponds - more Trumpeter Swans! This was turning out to be the bird of the day.
|Trumpeter Swans and Canada Geese at a Sewage Pond|
|A Trio of Trumpeters|
|Is that a Cackling Goose? Nope, just a Canada next to the enormous Trumpeters!|
|Trumpeter Swans bucking the strong prairie winds|
It is incredible to see this bird do so well as it was once considered endangered. I often forget that fact as I'll see them flying over the house or sitting on a pond by the road when I'm out driving. Despite those frequent sightings, it was a thrill to see nine of them today! I no longer was bummed about the absence of warblers and vireos. In fact, these swans have me fired up for waterfowl migration. And then, the southward migration of the winter finches and northern owls won't be long after that!