Tundra Swans, Mississippi River, between New Albin, IA and Brownsville MN ----

I admit, I’m still intrigued by yesterday’s wildlife experience. Watching ten-thousands of Tundra Swans on the Mississippi isn’t an everyday occurrence even for us that live near the Mississippi Valley and enjoy bird migration every year one way or the other.

Between all the noise created by the Tundra Swans I heard, and it was confirmed by other birders, the french horn like call of at least one Trumpeter Swan.

The Tundra Swan is smaller than the Trumpeter Swan and most adult birds have a yellow spot at the base of their black bill, while the Trumpeter Swan has an all black bill. The yellow spot varies in size and shape as I realized by studying the pictures from yesterday’s photo shooting. The photo above shows the distinct field mark very well. I had the focus on the juvenile bird in the back while they took off, hence it has better sharpness than the swan in front. It is not difficult to distinguish an adult from a young bird, and there were lots of families with one to four juveniles.