My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

My Week…Lucky me! Tuesday


Sure enough, it was snowing when I woke up, now it appears to be a light drizzle falling, so we’ll see what I come up with today.

What the heck do I know anyway? I shot over 100 pictures again today, including some of the best action shots I have ever taken, go figure.

The day started off much like I thought that it would be, I hadn’t gone ten feet when the drizzle began, and I slipped the camera into my parka with me. I was trying to stalk a few of the many birds that were singing, including a number of cardinals, but all I came up with is these two pine cones joined together.

Pine cones stuck together

I wasn’t able to get close enough to any of the birds, I did take two terrible shots of a cardinal, but they were so bad that I deleted them.

It was chilly out there today, a stiff southeast wind, which usually means a storm is on the way. That and the drizzle were enough to make me decide to pull my hood up. That of course blocked out the sound of two mute swans flying towards me, I didn’t hear or see the until they were so close that there was no way to get the camera out of my parka in time. I thought that my chances of any swan photos were nil for the day. Little did I know what was to come.

I got to the largest creek here, and even that seemed dead today, my mood was getting as dreary as the weather as far as what I thought my chances for any photos were. I turned around to continue on my way, and spotted a swan in a different pond than what they have been in so far. I wondered to myself how they had managed to get past me and into that pond when I had just seen them flying in the opposite direction just a few minutes before that. I didn’t bother with any photos, too far away, and what light there was, was all wrong.

I continued on, I did look over at the pond from another vantage point, and saw two swans this time, and two Canadian geese as well. I shot a quick photo of them all in the same frame, thinking that it would be an OK photo, and it was. Little did I know what was to come.

I stopped at the pond where the swans had been up until now, there were the usual mallards, and a herring gull. I have never seen a herring gull in the water around here, I see thousands of them, but always in flight. This one took off and made a few laps around the pond….

Herring gull in flight

Then landed in the pond again.

Herring gull landing

By now I had circled the pond where the swans were today, they were all the way across the pond from me, but as I stood there watching them, I began to think that they weren’t the same two as had been around before, the two that had flown over me earlier. Luckily, they swam over to give me a closer look.

Mute swan

That one looked like it could have been one of the same as before…

Mute swan

…but that one definitely is a different one, it is a younger swan that hasn’t turned completely white yet. Hmmm.

The geese started honking, nothing unusual about that…

Canadian geese

…kind of an OK photo, I caught the goose’s tongue out. Little did I know what was to come.

I backed away from the pond for the time being, going around the other side of the buildings to check out the last of the ponds here, then returned to the pond with the swans and geese. The geese were honking, or at least one goose was.

Canadian goose

I think that it was part of its courtship display, as it was doing a little dance of sorts, alternately lifting one wing, then the other as it continued to honk.

Canadian geese

And honk!

Canadian geese

I guess all that honking was more than the swans could take from what happened next!

Mute swan running for take-off

Mute swan running for take-off

It was awesome! I could hear those big webbed feet slapping the water with every stride! The whoufe…whoufe…whoufe of their wings with every beat! And the sounds of the water splashing in the wake they were leaving behind them!

Mute swan running for take-off

Once they were airborne, I could hear the whistle from their wings as well.

Mute swan in flight

The just got airborne, then set their wings to land again.

Mute swans landing

Mute swans landing

Mute swans landing

Mute swan just after landing

The geese watched this with great interest!

Canadian geese watching swans

I could tell by the body language of the cob (male swan) that he was ticked off about something! On his way towards the geese, he paused for a moment to run off some totally innocent mallards who just happened to be in his path.

Mute swan chasing mallards

Then, he headed towards the geese again.

Mute swan menacing Canadian geese

The Swan and the male goose went eyeball to eyeball with one another.

Mute swan menacing Canadian geese

The geese had gone completely silent as soon as the swan had made its intentions known. However, the male goose seemed to want to show his mate that he wasn’t scared of no swan!

Mute swan and Canadian goose in a standoff

Mute swan and Canadian goose in a standoff

Then, the females arrived to defuse the situation.

Mute swans and Canadian geese

Eventually, the swans retreated to their corner of the pond, leaving the geese to take up their courtship where they had left off, before the swans had so rudely interrupted them.

Canadian geese courting

Canadian geese courting

Canadian geese courting

That last one was one more than the swans could stand, for flying back across the pond they came!

Mute swan landing

Mute swan landing

Mute swan landing

Mute swan landing

The cob made sure that everything around the pond knew that he was the boss!

Mute swan

And took off after the geese again.

Mute swan

Only this time, he didn’t let the ice stop him.

Mute swan

He pushed hiself up on the ice, and headed towards the geese on foot!

Mute swan menacing geese

The geese decided that discretion was the better part of valor.

Mute swan menacing geese

And made for the other side of the pond, away from the swans.

Canadian goose taking off

Canadian goose in flight

Canadian goose landing

Canadian goose landing

Where they resumed there courtship yet another time.

Canadian geese courting

Canadian geese courting

Canadian geese courting

I really wanted to hang around longer and observe what happened, but I had been there for some time, and it was getting late. I headed home, deep in thought.

I was so deep in thought about what I had just witnessed that I darned near stepped on a fox squirrel, which scared the crap out of both of us. I did get a shot of its tail just for the heck of it, not that I am going to post it here.

It’s been an incredible two days here as far as photos.  And, the weather forecast has changed, surprise, surprise, no rain or snow tomorrow, maybe even some sun, so, on to Wednesday.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!


17 responses

  1. Amazing pictures of the swans taking off and landing!

    February 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    • Thanks, I didn’t have a lot of time to check out your blog, but I did like what I saw, looking forward to seeing more.

      February 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

  2. Excellent! The goose flapping his tongue really had me laughing.

    February 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    • Thanks, I almost wish I had shot a video, the honking was accompanied by much head shaking and a little dance.

      February 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

  3. Plants Amaze Me

    Wow! Oh Wow! What a great time with the geese and swans. Your photos are excellent! Thanks for sharing.

    February 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    • Thanks, always looking forward to new posts from you as well!

      February 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

  4. Well done! Those are some fantastic shots! And what a story they tell!

    February 24, 2012 at 1:32 am

    • Thank you, have fun on your trip, and no more running in airports!

      February 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

      • OK, I’ll try to slow down a little. BTW, your swan photos made me think of this webcomic I very much enjoy:
        It’s a good read from the beginning to the end.

        February 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      • Thank you, and thanks for the link!

        February 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

  5. Awesome! I love watching interactions between species, great captures, feels like I’m there!

    February 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    • Thank you, for all your comments. I hope you don’t mind that I give you one big THANK YOU here, rather than one for each comment.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

  6. Pingback: My Week…Lucky me! Thursday to Saturday « Quietsolopursuits's Blog

  7. Great shots!

    February 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    • Thank you, and thanks for visiting

      February 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

  8. WOWSA, some great takeoff and landing photos of both geese and swans! Love the “arguments” LOL!

    February 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    • Thank you, sone of my favorite things to photograph are the interaction between individuals of the same species, and different species

      February 27, 2012 at 2:03 am