*Click on photos to enlarge.*
On Saturday, the day before Easter, my brother-in-law Bill and I made it out to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge by the early afternoon. We started at the visitor’s center and drove Wildlife Drive and then hit many of the usual spots at the refuge, including May’s Point Pool, Tschache Pool, and East Road. We did well in spite of many of the pools still being frozen over and up until that point we had 35 species for the day:
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
The highlight of the day, however, came at our last stop of the day. We made our way over to the ‘Potato Fields’ to get a better look at the Snow Geese that we had seen from East Road. We were scanning the fields, I was hoping to turn some Tundra Swans into a Trumpeter, which was one of the birds I was really hoping to see. A car pulled in behind us and a couple got out. They asked us if we had seen any Trumpeter Swans and I said no but I was really hoping for one. The woman responded by saying she had a Trumpeter with her. I had no idea what that could possibly mean. The woman’s name was Cynthia Page, and she explained that she was a wildlife rehabilitator from the Page Wildlife Center in Manlius NY. She had not only a Trumpeter Swan, but also two Canvasbacks and a Redhead which had all been rehabilitated and she was releasing them. What a great opportunity! We got great looks at these fabulous birds as she released each of them into the water. The Redhead wasn’t on the ground for more than a few moments before she took flight. The two Canvasbacks lingered enough for some photos and then took off. The Trumpeter Swan, which was released last, took her time getting reoriented and I took many photos and really enjoyed seeing this big beautiful bird. Cynthia expained that the swan had been hit by a car and had lost one eye. The experience was fascinating and I thought, very lucky.