Probable TRUMPETER SWAN at the Bashakill!

The suspected Trumpeter Swan at the Bashakill this morning.


Wednesday morning Scott Baldinger found a distant swan at the Bashakill. Many of us responded and were able to view the bird from the Main Boat Launch, at a great distance. Though many of us made a number of visits, the bird remained on the far side of the kill. Scope views were decent, and I initially identified the bird as a Tundra Swan. Everything we could see pointed to that ID. Wednesday evening, Bruce Nott and Linda Scrima were viewing the bird shortly before dark. The bird came much closer than it had been all day and they were able to get many photos of the bird. I was able to view those photos in their ebird reports around 9:30 pm. I immediately felt something was wrong. I consulted all the guides and looked up both Tundra and Trumpeter Swans on line. Half an hour later, I was sure this bird is a Trumpeter Swan! I contacted Scott, Bruce and Ken McDermott and we discussed the bird at length, viewing the photos. We all agreed that it is likely a Trumpeter Swan. We sent the photos out to several qualified, credible experts and the results all came back a “likely Trumpeter Swan”. The bird continues today and has cooperated for more and better photos. While we are convinced this bird is a Trumpeter, we don’t have the expertise to make the declaration. We are seeking more input on our photos in hopes of getting a definitive answer while the bird is still here. Here is the description: very large white swan with extremely long thin neck. Large black bill with a straight line formed from the upper bill to the crown of the birds head. There is no swoop in the bill or round forehead as would be expected in a Tundra Swan. The black of the bill encompasses the front of the eye, to about the center above and below. The bird has a dingy gray head and nape, continuing part way down the neck. Because of the dingy gray plumage, the exact shape of the bill at the forehead is tough to discern. To me it seems to form a “V”, but it is not absolutely clear that it does so. The bird has a long flat back with a medium length tail. It is a very large bird. Many observers have viewed the bird over the last two days and hopefully more will be able to see it. Som Kayakers flushed the bird shortly before I left, but it did settle back down on the opposite side of the marsh. I will keep you all posted as I get more information. Enjoy the pics!

One front view of the bird fails to give a distinct shape of the bill where it meets the forehead.


Another view of this magnificent bird.

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2 Responses to Probable TRUMPETER SWAN at the Bashakill!

  1. Kathleen Ashman says:

    This is so exciting, John!

  2. Yes it is Kathy! So glad you could be part of it!

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