It was a beautiful day at Montezuma NWR as we headed home after a week in the Ithaca area. You couldn’t ask for a nicer view over Tschache Pool.
A family of Trumpeter Swans swam close to the dike, giving me better views of them than I’d ever had before.
They nest on the marshes of the refuge, and eventually the whole family paddled into view.
I think the upper bird has a damaged wing. It looks almost as if it’s twisted upside-down.
Tundra vs Trumpeter is a real ID challenge. Tundra Swans usually (but not always) have a yellow spot on the lores — the area between the beak and eye. Even if that’s lacking, the eye is usually more defined — a circle at the end of the beak, while the Trumpeter’s eye seems absorbed by the black of the beak. The Trumpeter’s beak and head form a straighter wedge shape, like a Canvasback’s head.
(Also, this family has been watched and identified all summer, so I’m pretty sure!)