Post by nickinthegarden on May 25, 2021 13:03:57 GMT -8
I had an alert from Ebird about a Black Swan at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve this morning. I was out there around 6:30 a.m. and as I went to get out of the truck I looked down the parking lot and spotted a skunk! I carefully went around my truck but by the time I dug out my camera it had moved into the tall grass further down. I walked down the Dike trail going west and saw many Wood Ducks and there very new little ducklings. The Great Blue Herons in their nests were quite noisy and there was a steady departure and arrival of birds into the trees. After about a 15 minute walk down the dike along the slough I spotted the Black Swan. Very beautiful bird, all black with a very striking red beak. It was happily gobbling down water plants and ignoring the various ducklings that swam near it. No doubt this was an escapee from someone's collection like the Mandarin Duck a couple years ago. Their native habitat of Australia and New Zealand kind of precludes any straying from their home base. Although Ebird shows many in Europe, no doubt escapees from collection also. I wonder if they can breed with our Swans?
On the way back to the truck I spotted a very busy Beaver hauling fresh cut lilypad leaves back to it's den. It was actually quite a long journey for it until it dove down under the water into the bank. I am mostly familiar with Beavers building a lodge out of sticks and logs but this area really did not suit that kind of home. Perhaps this was an unmated beaver or who had lost it's family.
Post by nickinthegarden on May 25, 2021 17:28:45 GMT -8
I only saw it swimming it never went near the shore or flew so no obvious tags. This was actually the first live skunk I have seen the Valley, I have come across many road kills over the years. When I lived in New Westminster they and their kits were frequently seen and smelled. I had one walk by me about 20 feet away while I watered the flower garden. My neighbor was not so lucky he got sprayed, fortunately he hosed himself down quickly.
That's really cool Nick! I love beautiful exotic birds like this swan and that Mandarin Duck, even if they don't "count." One of my favourites was an escaped white Gyrfalcon at the Iona Island ponds. I was with Denis watching a Tufted Duck, but the Gyrfalcon was much more interesting in my opinion (I'll have to give Denis a hard time for sticking with watching the duck). The Gurfalcon had leather bands on its legs and the owner was whistling, trying to get it to return. I hope it ended alright--a hungry looking eagle was following it around a little.
I've also assumed that Black swans in Europe would be established feral exotics, like our Mute Swans. Maybe someone else knows more about this.
Thanks for sharing!
"Thought I saw an eagle But it might have been a vulture I never could decide." -Leonard Cohen