Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trump Time

After yesterday's torrential rains and warm temps, some rivers opened up today.  The Chenal Ecarte (Snye, Snye Carte, Lost Channel) was no exception.
I headed out for lunch today and briefly stopped by the "swan spot" (also known as the "Stilt Spot").  Swans were littered all over the place and I had a feeling the Trumpeter Swans from Sunday were back.  Indeed they were.  I only saw the adult on my first pass, but a while later the two younger birds were visible.  No new photos.

One Trumpeter

As we have noticed, Trumpeter Swans are becoming more regular in our area.  They used to be here back in historic times and bones of some have been found around Wallaceburg in archaeological digs.
There have been lots along Lake Ontario in the past and to the present.  Many of those were tagged with yellow wing tags.

Some have ventured down our way including  a couple on the Thames River in February 2010.  Allen Woodliffe sent me a photo of one of those (long before he started his blog of course) which I posted.

photo by P. Allen Woodliffe

The first Trumpeter Swan I can remember in this area was one on the St. Clair River in late January-early February 1994.  This one sported a green wing tag with number 116.  Apparently it originated somewhere in Minnesota.  I think I took a photo of it, but cannot find it!

Back in late December 2012, a pair was found at Sombra and they stayed for several weeks.

They frequented Sombra and the Cathcart Park area mingling with wintering Tundra Swans and undesirable Mute Swans.

On 19 January 2013 I was birding with Mike Bouman, and we came across one in Sarnia Bay.

A year ago, at least two were at Shrewsbury during that incredible accumulation of waterfowl on Rondeau Bay.  They stayed for some time!
Perhaps unrelated to those, we saw three flying over Rondeau Bay (from Rondeau's marsh trail) on April 24, 2016.
One could not help but speculate if a pair attempted nesting in the area, but likely they would have been noticed.
A Trumpeter Swan was photographed at the east end of Rondeau Bay (Rondeau Bay Estates) early last July.  A curious sighting indeed.

Several were reported in Essex county early last spring, including the three I found at Hillman Marsh on 5 March, 2016.  They came in close to the shorebird viewing hut which was nice for studying. They were even calling!

Alan Wormington had not yet had Trumpeter Swan on his Pelee list yet!

One has to look closely at swan flocks anymore!  Last spring on March 13, I found two birds in a large Tundra Swan flock at Becher (Lambton county).
One was found at Forest Lagoons the same day as well.

Perhaps there has been some breeding in the St. Clair Flats (St. Clair River delta area). A pair was found in summer along St. Anne's Island 15 July 2015 while a group from Michigan was doing a waterbird survey.

And, a couple of weeks ago two were in a field near St. Clair NWA which were well seen by many.

I have probably missed some, but they are certainly becoming more frequent.

Sometime soon we may find a breeding pair in the area!



  1. I expect it is just a matter of time, very shortly, if in fact they haven't nested already. I remember finding those two at Sombra in Dec 2012 for the CBC.

    1. We will certainly watch for them!
      Indeed I do remember that you were the first to spot the pair of Trumpeter Swans at Sombra.