And failing to get a shot that really shows how many there are...
For years, that field has been in berries, but last year a crop of potatoes was grown there. The cover crop growing after harvest was complete has left a very large open area, with a few big puddles of water here and there.
Since early January, the big white swans have been gathering there. First, there were only 6-8, and they gave me quite a start when I walked around the back corner and almost right up to them.
They are big! When they are looking around, I don't doubt that the top of their heads are at the top of my shoulder; and their bodies are not small. Think 25 lb turkey spread out over a larger frame.
Daisie and treated them respectfully. I feared that she would consider them as she does most birds: intruders that must be chased away. However, she seemed quite impressed with their size and decided the better part of valor was to act like they weren't there.
One day, they were but ghostly shadows in the ground fog, gliding about mysteriously. It was a lovely sight, but not one that translated well in the camera.
Each week, their number grew until we estimated on our walk last Saturday that there were HUNDREDS out there. And quite a meeting they were having! They make a pretty pleasant sound, fortunately, and many of them were talking. We saw groups of 8-10 come flying in from every direction, circling the field and gracefully landing.
More and more Canadian geese had joined the swans, They would start circling high above, much higher than the swans. We had to watch for several minutes as the geese kept spiraling lower and lower, landing in the middle of the tribes of swans. Swans congregating with swans, and in the middle, gaggles of geese gathering with their kind.
On Sunday, we walked out to find a couple of hunters parked in their portable blinds on the edge of the field. We saw no swans, and the geese on the ground turned out to be a large gaggle of decoys. Only a few geese were in the air, circling, circling and then wheeling away. They knew what was up. Ha,ha... We weren't much help to hunters' cause, walking around their blind, but I can't say I felt bad about it.
Today, the swans and geese numbers are lower, and I think it has as much to do with the calendar as those hunters. I will miss their honking, and muted trumpeting, and watching the masses of them move around the field.
And I still didn't get a great picture to share. But that doesn't mean I won't share a bunch of bad ones with you! Hope you get a little idea of the beauty of these seasonal visitors.