Monday, 16 February 2015

Ontario Trumpeter Swans

I went home to my parents in Kingston this weekend with plans to check Amherst Island.  Unfortunately I let the -30 temperatures and crazy snow depths dissuade me.  Driving along the lake shore it looks like Lake Ontario is nearly completely frozen over, hence, small areas of open water around the Great Lakes are sure to attract waterfowl.  I stopped quickly at the Kingston Invista ponds which are kept heated by some runoff from the plant.  Although I didn't have anything rare I did find a lone Trumpeter Swan, North America's largest waterfowl and one of our largest birds period.  This bird has tag number K29.

I joined the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Facebook group and was able to find out a bit about this birds history.  It is pretty neat to see where this individual bird has been.  This is what we know:

-K29 was tagged in Burlington Ontario at Lasalle Harbour (unsure of the date)
-On April 16, 2014 this bird was just south of Lake Simcoe and the bird had a brief fling with another tagged bird #J83 but after this the bird disappeared
-On May 17, 2014 the bird was sighted further north in the Kawarthas
-It seems the bird wasn't sighted for quite some time after this and reappeared near Cobourg early in the year (January?)
-I found the bird at the Invista Ponds in Kingston on Febraury 15, 2015.

Here is a map of the sightings and known dates:

The last Trumpeter Swan in Ontario was shot near Long Point in 1886! Restoration efforts began in 1982 based out of Burlington, Ontario's Lasalle Park at the western edge of Lake Ontario.  Now the population is back up to around 1,000 individuals. Unfortunately, this captive reared population has lost the urge to migrate, hence the hordes of Trumpeter Swans that hang out at Lasalle Park all winter.

I'm going to look through my old photos and see if I have any other photos of taged Trumpeter Swans.  It is fun to track the movement and recovery of this species in Ontario!

Waterfowl crammed into the Invista Ponds
Invista Ponds.  Lake Ontario frozen in the background

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