Friday, November 18, 2005

My 100th post

Woohoo! 100 posts. I'm glad I started blogging. Thanks to my friend Pete in Brooklyn for planting the seed.

I saw my first Whistling Swans today. Latin name Cygnus columbianus, they are also sometimes referred to as Tundra Swans. They are called whistling swans, because their wings make a whistling sound as they fly. Faint, but definitely a whistle. Only saw a few today, although in the coming weeks , many more will start making their way to my little part of Lancaster County.
They overwinter on the Susquehanna River, which is right down the road from our house. During the day they fly to the cornfields that surround us and at night they go back to the river. They are increasinlgy dependent on agricultlural fields for their winter survival due to pollution killing off the submerged aquatic vegetation they used to depend on. The first time I saw them was when we lived in Marietta, which is right on the river. I thought they were snow geese. During a walk along the river I got a good view and realized that they were swans. They make a very high-pitched call, very different from the

Canada Goose, which most people mistake them for while they are flying. I suppose since they fly in V's, people just assume. When the sun is out and you see a large grouping of them against a clear blue sky, it is truly breathtaking. The first year we were in our current house, I took the dogs out one morning in early spring. The sky was filled with them, just flying in circles over our yard and the surrounding farms. Big V's of them were flying in from every direction, joining this huge mass. Then they would form huge V's and take off to the north. I guess they were assembling migration parties to begin the long trek north. They breed in Alaska and Canada. It was like a giant swan train station, where everyone was waiting for the last of their party to arrive before they departed. The dogs and I stood staring up for close to an hour. It was just amazing. I've never seen that since, but I do enjoy watching them fly back and forth from the river to their feeding grounds. They fly in the dark too, and it's eerie to be outside on a moonlit night with the dogs and hear them flying over, high above me, not calling out, but making that faint whistling sound with their wings as they fly. Silhouetted by the moon, making their way back to the cold waters of the Susquehanna.


Blogger Liz said...

How'd you know it was 100? Congratulations on being so prolific.

I love your swan story. I would have been transfixed too.

10:48 AM  
Blogger EFB said...

well it's been a pleasure to read. the swans sound beautiful. never really noticed them before. i love watching the geese fly south too.

12:23 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

On my blogger dashboard it tells me how many posts I have.

2:19 PM  

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