It is always exciting when swans decide to winter in Oklahoma. Birders on the OKBirds listserv keep everyone aware of swan sightings and the birds sometimes find Oklahoma ponds a welcome place to spend at least part of the winter months. Tundra Swans are the most rare of the swan species to visit the state and I haven’t yet had my first sighting. I’ve photographed Trumpeter Swans only twice: once at the Great Salt Plains and the other on a farm pond near Lawton.
This winter, I am fortunate that a group of 8 Trumpeter Swans was spotted on a housing developing lake in Norman, Oklahoma during the Cleveland County Christmas Bird Count. A Christmas blizzard and other weather woes kept me from checking them out until last weekend. They’re only 30 miles away so I was happy that: 1) the small lake was free of ice and 2) the swans were still there.
These birds were very cooperative and swam right up to the shoreline. It didn’t hurt that the wind was strong and cold and where I was standing was sheltered! I had a great time watching and photographing the swans — one of which is an immature (first time I’ve seen a juvie).
There is a Mute Swan on a local lake. It is not considered a wild bird although it flies quite well. This species of swan is what is commonly found at parks and small city ponds. I put two “head shots” in the photo below: an adult Trumpeter and an adult Mute Swan. They are distinguished by the head/bill… their bodies are very similar when seen on the water.