Monthly Archives: July 2015

Cygnus cygnus seems to like it here


Peekaboo, swan.


More Whooper Swan photos from yesterday. My long-necked white-feathered friend is still out there this morning. “What if it stays?” we are beginning to ask ourselves.


I will spend too much time watching it, for one thing.


And taking pictures. How many pictures of one Whooper Swan in a New Hampshire pond does the world need?


Aw, pretty.


Is it lonely for the company of other swans? Might it fly off and find one or several swan friends?


Our backyard is turning into a fairy tale.

There’s a swan in our pond

Whooper Swan in pond

Swan visitor in our pond yesterday afternoon and evening. And it’s still there this morning.

I knew it wasn’t a Mute Swan like I see at Eel Pond in Rye. I Googled around and it looked like a Whooper Swan, but they are a Eurasian species. So I posted some photos to Flickr and then posted an I.D. question (with a link to the photos) to the NH Birds Google group.

Whooper Swan bill

The emailed consensus of local birders: a Whooper Swan for sure.

The black and yellow bill, with more yellow than black, is diagnostic.

A birder wrote: “How cool is that swan! I think you’ve got a whooper swan. It’s got the wedge-shaped head and the wedge-shaped yellow patch of a whooper. Here’s a link that shows the difference between Bewick’s and whoopers.
Wonderful to have it appear in your pond.”

Whooper Swan

Another birder wrote: “Whooper swans are a European species, so I’m guessing this one is an escaped captive bird – perhaps from York Zoo in Maine, perhaps from one of the zoos down around Boston. Very, very unlikely that it’s a wild bird, as their normal range doesn’t come west of Iceland. Not impossible, though – where wandering birds are concerned, there’s very little I’d call ‘impossible.’ 🙂 ”

Whooper Swan

Other birders said this bird has been spotted in our town and adjacent towns recently.

What does the future hold for this solo swan, I wonder.

Whooper Swan


Whooper Swan

Wikipedia: The whooper swan (pronounced hooper), Cygnus cygnus, is a large Northern Hemisphere swan. It is the Eurasian counterpart of the North American trumpeter swan. Francis Willughby and John Ray’s Ornithology of 1676 referred to the this swan as “the Elk, Hooper, or wild Swan”.

Whooper Swan


Apparently you can order a pair of (pinioned) Whooper Swans from Meyer Hatchery in Ohio for $2,100 plus $355 shipping: LINK.

Whooper Swan

A strange and special bird visitor.

Fishing in East Boston


Great Egret fishing in East Boston near the airport.


For our 28th anniversary, my husband and I were staying at the Hyatt Boston Harbor – with great views across the harbor to the city. We got around by water taxi and explored the waterfront and North End (delicious dinner at Bacco). We also went on a Duck Tour with our youngest daughter, a college student in Boston with a summer job there too.


My husband (an airline captain) got back to Logan Airport from a trip at 3 a.m. and met me at the hotel. I was first up that morning, so I took a stroll on the Harborwalk and watched this elegant bird, among other things.


A lovely member of the bittern and heron family, Aredeidae, in the order Pelicaniformes – it’s amazing how white this Great Egret’s feathers stayed even while wading Boston Harbor at muddy low tide.

Yellow and red are the colors today

grace kelly the buff orpington

Portrait of Grace Kelly the Buff Orpington.

Sometimes I go out back to take pictures of birds and chickens are the only birds I get.

lucy the rhode island red hen

Lucy the Rhode Island Red hen.

She’s the one that likes to chase our golden retriever.


Daylilies also allow a photographer to get close. They hold still long enough to have their picture taken.

Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind – listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody. – Eubie Blake

In between nestling and fledgling… groundling?

Common Yellowthroat chick

Common Yellowthroat chicks are out of their nest in the undergrowth out by our pond, hopping around and calling for food from their parents.

Common Yellowthroats live in thick, tangled vegetation in a wide range of habitats—from wetlands to prairies to pine forests—across North America. Their breeding range stretches across most of the United States, the Canadian provinces, and western Mexico. Yellowthroats are most common in wet areas, which tend to have dense vegetation low to the ground, ideal for skulking and building hidden nests.

Common Yellowthroat female

Female Common Yellowthroat is calling and flying from bush to tree to reed, keeping an eye on her babies. The male was nearby too, but I didn’t get a photo.

Common Yellowthroat chick

This chick is “hiding” in the daylilies, but it was easy to find because of its constant chirping.

common yellowthroat female

Parents are still feeding the chicks. I think there are 3 or 4 of them. It’s harder now that they are not all in one place!

Common Yellowthroats forage on or near the ground, eating insects and spiders from leaves, bark, branches, flowers, or fruit in low vegetation. Their diet includes bugs, flies, beetles, ants, termites, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, dragonflies, damselflies, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, and other larvae.

Common Yellowthroat chick

“Are you my mother?” wonders frowning chick.

Common Yellowthroat female

The busy mom.

I didn’t stay long and I won’t bother them anymore today. Good luck, little birdies!

Barefoot gull watching

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull at Seabrook Beach.

I have been taking lots of walks with my camera. I have posted about a few of them on my (kinda old) general/ personal blog at

Ring-billed Gull

I posted this bird, this beach and this day: After the Fourth. Plus diving terns.

Ring-billed Gull

Familiar acrobats of the air, Ring-billed Gulls nimbly pluck tossed tidbits from on high. Comfortable around humans, they frequent parking lots, garbage dumps, beaches, and fields, sometimes by the hundreds.

Or all alone, like this gull.