Montana Outdoors

January 16, 2010

A cold place to rest

Filed under: Birds, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Tundra Swans — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 11:20 pm

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans

This group first came into view at a range of about a half mile. Their eyesight is incredible, and I thought about that when I began to try to stalk them to within camera range, but I wasn’t quite sure about the sharpness of their hearing. The terrain made it fairly easy to keep out of sight until the range had been cut to about a hundred yards at which point I could tell that their ears are also pretty darn good. As I crept quietly through a veritable jungle of wild rose bushes the thorns tugged softly at my jacket, which has a velvety-like surface designed to be quiet in the brush and I could tell that they could hear the soft sounds from the thorns, enough to alert them but not alarm them. I was pleased that I was able to stalk within range for these photos without alarming the birds and even more pleased that I was able to then make an exit leaving them completely undisturbed.


  1. Nice. Is that a band on the far right one’s neck? I thought birds were banded on their “ankles”…


    Comment by Cedar — January 17, 2010 @ 4:40 am

    • It is. I didn’t know they banded the neck either. The band reads”8T1″ or “8TI”. One of the others has bands on both legs.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2010 @ 4:55 am

  2. Sounds like it was a very exciting moment for you to actually capture the close shot. I loved your description.


    Comment by Preston Surface — January 17, 2010 @ 8:23 am

    • You would think I would be used to getting in close to wild critters, but every single time it’s exciting to me. I’ve found it even more so when I carry a camera rather than a gun.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  3. Beautiful shot and so glad you care about upsetting the birds. A lot of people don’t realize how critical it is not to make them use more energy than necessary in the winter


    Comment by dave1949 — January 17, 2010 @ 9:27 am

    • I always prefer to keep from disturbing wildlife if I can. It’s much more satisfying. And you are right, it’s much more important in winter, although these guys had plenty of food available and lots of peace and quiet. They chose an excellent place to relax too, with the open water on one side and forty to fifty yards of very smooth ice on the shore side.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  4. When I was shooting pix with an old 35mm camera with a focal plane shutter, I only had time for one picture in situations like this. The thing was so loud, it scared everything away. Nice to see your camera doesn’t sound like a grenade going off.



    Comment by knightofswords — January 17, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    • I have seen indications that some critters have heard the shutter on my camera, but never did it seem to disturb them in particular. It doesn’t seem to sound threatening.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  5. They look so peaceful.


    Comment by Maggie — January 17, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

    • It was probably a rest period for them after feeding most of the morning. There were others actually sleeping on the ice, with heads tucked under their wings.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  6. Pretty birds – makes me think and “look” for the ugly duckling! ;o)


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — January 17, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

    • Actually, the smaller one that has the brown head is a juvenile who might have just outgrown the “ugly duckling” stage in the last month or so.


      Comment by montucky — January 17, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  7. oh how beautiful. will they nest there in the spring?


    Comment by kcjewel — January 17, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

    • I would not think they will nest in that location, but it’s likely that they will a few miles further downstream. I see swans there all summer long.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2010 @ 9:49 am

  8. You wouldn’t think the neckband would be very comfortable, poor guy. Strange, they’re really pretty, though.


    Comment by Candace — January 18, 2010 @ 1:03 am

    • I don’t like the idea of the neck band and I hope that the agency responsible for it knows what it’s doing. The marking on it can be read at quite a distance though and may make actual handling of the bird again unnecessary.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  9. Lovely photos! Wow!


    Comment by Barbara — January 18, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    • Pretty birds, aren’t they! I can remember seeing them on that river when I was a child and I still love to see them there.


      Comment by montucky — January 18, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

  10. Beautiful image Terry, it kinda makes my butt cold as well 😉


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — January 19, 2010 @ 10:15 am

    • It kinda does. I doubt if I would want to sit there for long myself, although I know how warm all of that down is.


      Comment by montucky — January 19, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  11. Hello Terry! Lovely birds and equally beautiful shots!


    Comment by pilgrim30 — January 19, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  12. Oh, sorry! Was going to but forgot to say: Love the reflection on the water. Leaves it with that soft touch and a soothing place to be.


    Comment by pilgrim30 — January 19, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    • I like the reflections too, Iona. They make it look warmer, don’t they! There’s just something about swans, too.


      Comment by montucky — January 19, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

  13. Good work, Terry. I’ve seen these guys slide across the ice on their bellies to reach the open water. Kinda like what I would do!


    Comment by edvatza — January 20, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

    • I was near there today and they were in the water with about 30 of their friends. That was pretty nice to see.


      Comment by montucky — January 20, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  14. more amazing shots! looks like you are having one adventure after another!


    Comment by silken — January 23, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    • Just getting out a lot, Silken and there are nearly always pleasant surprises.


      Comment by montucky — January 23, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

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