The cygnets were learning how to feed, sticking their heads in the water imitating their parents who were pulling vegetation up from the pond floor. The were each in constant motion, turning and dunking, making a family portrait a real challenge.
The three cygnets mostly stayed together.
This fellow started off on his own but quickly turned back to the group.
Owned and operated by the City of Sumter, SC, Swan Lake Iris Gardens is home to all eight known species of swan.
We went back to Bear Island Wildlife Management Area for another try at seeing the Tundra Swans taking off from their overnight resting spot. We couldn’t get very close but we did get to see, and hear, a few.
These swans can weigh up to 23 pounds (10 Kilos) so getting into the air takes a huge effort and considerable runway distance.
The noise of the flapping of their wings echoing across the pond first alerted me. The ducks and other swans behind them paid no attention.
The real reason we headed out early yesterday morning was not for the sunrise of my last post, but to see the Tundra Swans take off. We did not get to see where they spent the night or lift off but did catch them in air well after the sun was up.
Around three hundred Tundra Swans are known to winter within South Carolina’s Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, likely descendants of a group that first came here in the 1970s with a flock of Canada Geese.
The Swans flew over us in small groups, mostly headed down the coast. During the day they spread out through the ACE Basin (Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto River Basin), 350,000 acres of mostly marshes and wetlands, to feed. They return to Bear Island WMA each night.
The Tundra Swans will leave SC by early March headed toward their breeding grounds in the Arctic.