Today I went out to check on the Flathead River again to see what the ice was doing and this time drove up river another 5 – 6 miles. There were several sections of open water followed by other areas where it has ice bank-to-bank and it took the photo above of one of the open areas. On the way back I noticed some visitors on the ice shelf on the other side, some Tundra Swans which are fairly common here but always a delight to see.
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.