Thursday, August 11, 2011

August Trip to Magee Marsh...Part 1

We left on Saturday afternoon and arrived at the Sleep Inn where we always stay  when we spend time in the Toledo area about 3:30.  After relaxing and eating at Applebee's for supper, Tom decided to take a little drive.  We drove past the docks in Toledo and then headed east.  He drove until we were close to Magee Marsh. We decided to go there since we still had an hour or so of daylight.  We especially wanted to see the Swamp Rose-Mallows which cover the wetlands this time of year.

But, before we  reached those wetlands, we were treated to a sighting of a lifetime. 

We have two native species of swans in Ohio, the Tundra or Whistling Swan, and the Trumpeter Swan.  The Tundra Swans are here in spring and fall during their migration flights.  The Trumpeter Swans are here all year around but only in a few Magee Marsh.  We have often seen them in the distance when we have birded here, but never on the road beside the van.  Yes, as we watched, they walked out on the road beside the driver's door.  I keep my Fujifilm JZ300 camera in my purse so Tom took photos from the van, wishing he had his Canon.  My little camera did an admirable job.

We think of a bird's bill as a 3-D triangle but look at all the planes on it.  The eyes are nearly hidden by the black surrounding them.

If we had had any doubt about these being Trumpeter Swans they were squelched by this swan.

Around its neck is a band attached by the wildlife staff who released it.  In 1996 Magee Marsh was the first of 11 sites where Trumpeter Swans were reintroduced in Ohio.

There were once thousands of Trumpeter Swans throughout the northern United States but, by 1900, they were extirpated from Ohio.  Most of them were gone by the mid 1800s.  This was because they were killed by hunters.  People wanted their meat and skins.  Swan skins were used to make powder puffs, and the feathers used to adorn fashionable clothing.  As the wetlands were drained for farming, their habitat was lost which was another factor in their decline. 

The Ohio Division of Wildlife has a complete Life History of the Trumpeter Swan on its website. 

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful encounter! You took some great photos! :)