The Trumpeters are still hanging around! I thought they had left for the Yukon but was pleasantly surprised to see my friends still around!
I set up a remote trail camera to record the Trumpeters back in December. This group is called K-18/19. They fly down from the Yukon each Fall to spend their winters in Tofino. There were 5 last year but only three this year. I do hope they simply took off elsewhere and were not killed?
I went to swap the card and put fresh batteries in but was disheartened to find the unit wasn’t turning on? I brought it home and put it on top of a warm spot. Sometimes moisture can get in as vapour? Electronics and moisture…….not good bed fellows! At any rate it turns out the unit ain’t going to be turning back on any time soon! I kept it in a protected housing but moisture can always find a way in! I do have a extra one THAT DOES STILL WORK and will put it back out in a day or so. I’ve since ordered another one. It did record 109 videos but no Trumpeters…..or anything for that matter! It appears water movement was the main triggering reason? I will have to adjust the sensor level.
Sometimes things just don’t go as you want. It’s a tough environment out there!
UPDATE : Feb 18 – It appears that the unit is working now! Bringing it back in in the warmth must of evaporated the vapour creating the problem. I found some sand on the weather seal. That’s all vapour needs to get inside!
So very happy that I didn’t lose a second unit!
I was so happy to find my big feathered friends back in their normal spot! I’ve watched this group grow from 2 to 9 over the years! I know they lost one of them to a predator 2 years ago. (probably a Wolf or Cougar) I found the carcass or what was left of it. They spend their summers up in the Yukon and their winter’s in Tofino! Like a lot of people these days.
I’ve been watching this group of Trumpeters for 6 years now. There are 8 Trumpeter swans in this ballet. When I first found them the male (K-19) still had his green neck ID tag on but K-18 had already lost her neck ID. When researchers captured them they put a plastic coloured neck ID on them. They also banded one of their ankles with a metal ID tag. The neck ID is designed to drop off after awhile. I am guessing that by the time the neck tag drops off the researchers would hopefully of had sightings reported. They want to know where they go? Once Trumpeters find a nice quiet relaxing spot,they will come back to it again and again.
I found out the organization ( Canadian Wildlife Service out of Whitehorse) that monitors them and reported these two Swans K-18 and K-19. I found out the researchers had banded them at Taye lake in the Yukon. They stay there during the summer and migrate to this small bay near Tsapee Narrows (one mile east of Tofino) for the winter months.
I took the above shots last Monday March 18,2019. I went camping for four days. When I came back on Thursday they had flown the coup. I assume they are on their yearly migration back to Taye lake.
This was taken from my posting of January 21,2013:
(January 23rd,2013) Received some info about K19 from Jim Hawkings with the Canadian Wildlife Service out of Whitehorse. This is what he had to say about K19…………….”Not sure if anyone else (Ruth??) has tracked this down yet, but this is one of the birds captured in Yukon Territory, summer 2003 during the captures for the satellite telemetry study spearheaded by Ruth Shea and Rod Drewien. The bird was captured on 22 July 2003 at Taye Lake, 37 miles NW of Whitehorse (band # 1939-01708). It was not marked with a satellite transmitter. This is the first recovery I know of from this bird, but Ruth (or other folks in Southern BC) may have other sightings that never made their way to the banding lab’s recovery database. The other banded bird in the group was likely K19’s mate, formerly marked with neckband K18.
Sightings such as this help us continue to piece together the migrations and relationships between breeding and wintering grounds for Trumpeter Swans and other birds.”
I shot these on January 21,2013 when K-19 still had his neck tag on.
I went camping last week. I like to camp in Tranquil valley. Each Winter a ballet of Trumpeters stays in Tranquil. They are not like their city cousins who allow people to get close.Just the opposite,they never allow anyone to get close to them!
Forget about your “Punxsutawney Phil’s” and alike for predicting when Spring is going to arrive! Its all Hollywood show and just entertainment. If you really want to know when Spring is around the corner just watch when the Trumpeters leave!
Animals are far more in tune with Mother Natures cycles than we clueless humans are! With the Trumpeters gone from Tranquil Spring is close……..maybe 3 weeks away folks! (for this area)
Now………having said that,the Trumpeters near Tsapee Narrows (K-18/19) are still around. There are 8 in their ballet. I stopped to glass them and was around 1/2 mile away from them. They know me well! I have a distinctive white coloured boat. Even being 1/2 mile away they began to raise the alarm! They have a small spot of land they like. They began to waddle into the water and soon took to flight!
They’ll be leaving soon,I suspect this week. Next Winter I am going to put a trail camera down there to record their daily activities. I did go to this spot to collect some feathers however. They never seem to leave me any large feathers,just small ones.
I count nine in this ballet of swans. I noticed that one is always on guard watching while the others sleep.
I was hiding in the forest when I shot these.You can see some limbs in the way. They knew something was up! They heard my mirror slap.When they have their heads turned like this it means they are watching behind them
I counted 8 today.Four adults & 4 cygnets.These are the hardest birds to get close shots of! Next time I go camping I have a plan! When I know they are inside the river system (only at high tide) I make a few noises.They’ll get nervous & begin to exit the river system.I know their normal exit route, so I’ll simply hide & wait for them to swim past.Once I start shooting the sound from the mirror reflex will spook them for sure,but by then its too late……I’ll will have gotten the shots! Busted!
Now that it’s getting warmer the Trumpeters will be moving on soon.The bears tag team with the Trumpeters. When the bears are going to bed in November,the Trumpeters are arriving from the north. Now that cycle is about to reverse.The swans will be leaving for the north soon & the bears will be looking for a serious cup of Java!
I went camping up in Tranquil for New Years.I awoke New Years day to the sound of Trumpeters close by! A family group had come into Tranquil to feed. They only do this during high tide.
For years I’ve seen these circular dug out shallow holes in the gravel but couldn’t figure out who or what was doing them? I found scat (which was the same shape as Canada Goose scat) beside the holes,so I “assumed” it was Trumpeters? After seeing them feeding in this spot I’m positive the culprit are Trumpeters!
They turn upside down & shovel out the gravel to form these very circular holes!I haven’t a clue what their eating? Might be insects or some other marine invertebrate? I’ll have to dig around myself to see whats crawling about.
Getting close to a Trumpeter is very difficult! I could see them but they couldn’t see me. I had to shoot through some brush.
I found this family group in Tranquil inlet.Two adults & 3 Cygnets.The collective noun for a group of Swans is a “ballet”.
With the tide being high,I went down to the end of Grice bay to check on the Trumpeters.Had to be over 40 of them with many hundreds of other birds as well.Because Grice bay is so shallow (it physically empties at low tide) nobody goes down there.The birds know this & love to congregate down at the end.
I think I’ll put my trail camera down here to capture them much closer!
Because the Tranquil Trumpeters are back I thought I’d go down to the end of Grice bay & check to see if those swans were back as well? Sure enough,they were there! There had to be over thirty! Of course nobody ever goes down there,so they can hear anyone coming literally a mile away!They have large wing spans,so it takes a greater amount of time to get into the air.
The Tranquil Trumpeters are BACK! Always so happy to see my fine feathered friends! They tag team with the bears.The bears are going to sleep just as the Trumpeters are arriving!
Looks like not all the Trumpeters have left yet.I found 2 dozen down at the end of Grice bay.
One of the collective nouns to describe a group of Swans is a “ballet”.K-19 & K-18 were tagged up in the Yukon several years ago.They both have lost their neck ID but still have their leg bands.There are seven in this ballet so far.
This title was thought of by GP Cox . You should go check out his site.He pays tribute to the men & women who fought for our freedom!