Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sound the Trumpets

Life bird(s) #734 and Big Year bird(s) #95 are Trumpeter Swans.  There are 2 of them swimming around the Schuylkill river in Pottstown this winter. There are no other Trumpeter Swans within hundreds of miles. That makes these birds worth checking out.

This contest is a little ridiculous in that I have to chase after unusual birds when normally I would not. Don't get me wrong, Trumpeter Swans are worth traveling to Pottstown for. They are elegant. The photo below doesn't do them justice. I only got to see this pair by running out onto a bridge that is closed to get a better look up river.  Yes, I said the bridge is closed. In fact, it is so closed that it doesn't show up on the GPS map. The view was worth it.

Trumpeter Swans
There is a strategy to this Big Year contest. In order to contend, you need to understand the seasons and you need to know which birds to see at what time of year.  Take ducks, swans and geese for instance. All of these weird geese and swans that I am chasing now will be gone by March or April. They will return to the far north for the summer and will probably migrate in the right direction next fall bypassing the Delaware Valley. So you see, I have to see them now or lose out on counting them for the contest.

Here are a few other photos from the day.  The Gadwall was an unexpected surprise. This is truly a handsome duck. Sublime in it's brown and gray tones. Confident in it's dapper appearance while the others ducks are gaudy. What do you think?

Gadwall
While picking through the quazillion Canada geese over the weekend looking for the weird ones, I got a little sick of looking at them. But when you see a pair swimming together, you can't help but snap the photo.

Canada Geese
We are heading to the shore with a spreadsheet full of "target" birds, a tank full of gas, and a lot of caffine-fueled energy.  We hope to get 9 target birds and will end up with others that are "common" to add to the list too.
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