Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Ugly Ducklings Here! WBW 7

Flowers & SWANS---everywhere!  At Swan Lake and Gardens in Sumter, SC its about 30 miles from my home, one county over.  The best time to visit is when the thousands of Iris's are in bloom!! This garden started out as a private fishing pond back in the late 20's.  Thanks to private citizens donating land now the garden is 120 acres! There is a large collection of swans from all over the world-8 species in total. What makes that really cool is you can swans from far away lands and practice your ID skills!  So for my contribution to World Bird Wednesday I'm going to share these swan photos and some tips to tell them apart ( I hope)

First off the Trumpeter is know for its unique call--spends time in the Northern Regions of North America. (Alaska, Wyo, Idaho, Alberta, BC) The best way to ID this swan is a bright white body with an almost solid black beak if you look closely there is a small bit of orange on the lower bill just under the edge of the jaw--

Cygnus buccinator

This next swan is a real foreigner-The Whooper Swan winters in Great Britain, Northern Europe, Asia Minor, Northern India, China, Japan, and Korea.  ID this bird with the beak as well bright Yellow at the top part of the beak and includes the nostril ....and the shape is thicker when compared to the Bewick's the yellow stays above the nostril--

3 Whooper Swan
Cygnus cygnus

Speaking of the Bewick's...Its the Eurasian subspecies of Tundra Swan, the beak is also yellow at the top but above the nostril midway down where it turns to black it narrows in size..and there is a small white patch on the bill...these guys are native to Northern Russia from the Kanin Delta to the Lena Delta. The swan has also migrated to parts of Japan and winters in the British Isles, Northern Europe, Denmark, and Ireland.  They mate for life and if one mate dies the other usually dies shortly after--talk about till death do we part!

Cygnus columbianus bewickii

The Royal Mute Swans with the horny protrusion at the top of the beak above a  beautiful graceful neck reside in  the British Isles to Mongolia, North American, Australia, South Africa, China, and New Zealand and others go South in the Southern U.S.A., Mediterranean and Southwest Asia...

Cygnus olor

  A male Swan is called a COBB and the Female is called a PEN!  So here is a female Mute Swan...
Female Mute

 Next we have the Tundra Swan, or the Whistler (North American Tundra, China) Look for the small yellow drop just under the eye....such a beautiful swan with a long neck and large white body.
Cygnus Columbianus

And the close up of the Tundra/Whistler Swans little yellow tear drop.
the little yellow tear drop of the Tundra Swan

  When I first saw this swan I figured it was the result of some cross breeding but turns out this is a Black Neck Swan that migrates to the Northern Hemisphere after breeding in the southern third of South America and the Falkland Islands. Generally those living in the Falkland Island area do not migrate.  This one was resting in the bushes nearby the lake..
Cygnus melancoryphus

 Hope you're not getting bored just a couple more---
This is the Black Australian Swan..and there are many at the Garden.  These black swans seem to be flourishing here and they enjoy hanging out together i saw them in groups of 5 and 6--I got this one posing behind the azalea bushes-
Cygnus atratus

The Coscoroba 
There is one more species of swan listed for the Garden,  The Coscoroba (South America, Falkland Islands)  I didn't see one, so I'm borrowing this photo from the Garden Website to show what it looks like
A largish white body, neck is not so long and the bill is all orange- 
So I hope this will help with your Swan ID's when you are out in the field..I didn't get any In flight shots so that's a personal goal for me.
Enjoy this quick Video of a Bewick's call while he scolds me for getting too close,

 Click here to head over to the WBW Pine River Review to see other Birds of the World.

Happy Birding to all of you!!


  1. Great photos and how fantastic to be able to see all those different kinds of swans in one place. Very interesting descriptions of the similarities and differences too.

  2. Nice to see the different kinds of swans ... didn't know there were so many.

    Surely those pictures weren't taken this week? We had snow all day today. I only did a little shoveling as my back hurts at the moment ... BIL is coming with snow blower in the morning as it continues to snow.

  3. This is an epic post and your right, it is really a whole chapter unto itself! I am saving it for further study and reference. Your images are crazy good too. Not to appear macabre but the suicide pact of the Bewick Swans is simply Shakespearean. Bravo!

  4. Enjoyed reading your post about swan - so far I have seen only one species in the wild, the Mute Swan, which is an introduced species and for that reason not very popular with birders, but they do look beautiful!

  5. LOVE the teardrop picture - just amazing!

  6. That tear-drop shot is very nice! Love it!

  7. I love swans and your photos are wonderful!

  8. Those half and half swans are amazing. Great shots.

  9. Beautiful images. I have recently had Mute, Black (read a recent post on my blog) Whoopers and a Bewick all feeding together in a local field recently.

  10. I don`t get to see many swans living here in the woods.Such beautiful,graceful birds,thank-you for sharing,phylliso

  11. Lovely variety of swans. I was fortunate to see and photograph some wild Bewick's Swans here in the UK last week. My Life Outside

  12. Wow, those are all such gorgeous birds! I love the photo of the Tundra Swan with his head tucked in... So sweet. I hope to see all of those swans someday!

  13. great series! thanks for sharing.

  14. Beautiful shots- nice post, I don't get to see swans too often.

  15. This is such a stunning entry. Aren't thy marvelous. :)

    Where you listen to books, I can't hear them. I can still read, but large print is my friend. :)

    Hey, happy new year to you.

  16. Beautiful photos and a fascinating post.
    I didn't really realize that there are THAT many different swan species out there :D


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