Crowing about the mute swans

I spent the last week and a half on the road, visiting family in Michigan and taking a side trip to Milwaukee. Between the time in the car and all the things I was doing with family, I had only a limited time to look for birds.

The most satisfying opportunity was at Cass Lake in Keego Harbor, Michigan, which is about 30 miles northwest of Detroit. For photos I decided to rely on my iPhone rather than the my Canon camera with its zoom lens. But once three swans swam past us on the beach, I headed back to the car to fetch the Canon. I was lucky, because two of the swans hooked around the shoreline and swam into an inlet. I was crossing a bridge over it as they approached and was able to get a couple of decent photos.

Although I’ve seen many swans in many places over the course of my lifetime, this was the first time I’d recorded them since I began birding seriously the last few years. In my part of New Jersey, we’re fortunate to have trumpeter swans in a few nearby lakes, and I see them often. Seeing the mutes (there were about a dozen overall, including several a ways down the beach) was a treat.

I also took a short walk one afternoon at the Orchard Lake Nature Sanctuary, a small park with nice trails just off its namesake lake (like Minnesota, Michigan is pocked with lakes seemingly everywhere you look). I wasn’t in the park but one minute when a pileated woodpecker flew across the trail, landed on a tree and, just as I was going for my camera, flew off deeper into the woods. Although I didn’t spot them, I certainly could hear Eastern wood pewees not far off.

Unless you count watching seagulls and swallows from a riverside restaurant downtown, I didn’t get to do any birding in Milwaukee. Now that I’m back home, I need to strike out into the woods again. Blue grosbreaks have been reported at the Pole Farm, and it’s time to go back to see if I can spot one.

Published by Dan

University media executive by day, blogger by night, I am a well-traveled resident of New Jersey

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