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.
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. http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/categories/articleitem.asp?item=470
Wonderful to have it appear in your pond.”
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.’ 🙂 ”
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.
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”.
A strange and special bird visitor.