Friday, October 25, 2012
Let's just admit it right now. Bald eagles and Tundra swans are two of the biggest stars in the bird world, especially right here at the Refuge, and for weeks (and sometimes months) before their return...people are asking "Any swans yet?"; "When do the eagles get here?"; and "When is the best time to see swans and eagles?!"
Well folks...that time is just...about... NOW. Swans have started to arrive on the Refuge..from just a few last week to hundreds and maybe thousands this week, and the number is expected to grow into the 10s & 20s of thousands into mid-November until the wetlands freeze over. Of course, if they don't freeze over like last year (due to such a mild winter) we can have flocks of swans here straight through the cold months until March for Swan day on March 9. But - if we have a more regular year...by Thanksgiving or shortly after, most of the swans will head south and west of us to Mono lake and southern California. (Photo: SWAN MOON, by Lloyd Bush.)
As for the eagles - it is possible to see some in the winter...but they prefer it around here when the ice is almost covering the wetlands with scattered open water to fish in. The best month is February - hence we have Bald Eagle day on February 9th - but we do get "Baldies" coming in in late November and through December as well...so keep an eye out for this superstar.
So, Papparazzi birders, get your bins and scopes ready for the BIG BIRDS and their entourages...and don't forget to dress warm!