Trumpeter Swan Invasion


Liam Huber
 

Hey folks,

Yesterday morning I discovered a group of FIFTY-ONE Trumpeter Swans on a ranch pond in Butte County (at the intersection of hwys 149 & 99). To call this unprecedented would be the understatement of the century. The previous documented high count I could find for the central valley (in eBird) was 6... They are constantly trumpeting and are very easy to pick out among the near equal numbers of Tundras. We returned in the evening and all the swans had moved to the Harter Rd. fields across 99, before eventually flying off to a night roost at dusk. My final count in the fields was SEVENTY-SEVEN Trumpeters!!! This should be a continuing cycle, with swans on the pond early in the day and in the fields later. 

I was initially hesitant about posting this because the swans can only be viewed from the side of the highway. Not much I can do now, as I figure word will spread regardless, so here are some directions/instructions for viewing.

If you decide to come view the swans, DO NOT cross any fences. Both the ponds & fields are private property. When viewing the pond (39.614604,-121.680814), just pull as far off the road (pretty wide shoulder here) as you can and try to limit your time outside the vehicle. Viewing at the fields is a bit easier, as there is a spot to park off the highway by the gate here: 39.606704,-121.690985. 

Please, use common sense and be safe while viewing these swans. It would be awesome if folks could not spend extra long periods at these spots, that way the limited parking doesn't clog up. Also don't want to give CHP (very active in this area) any reasons to limit our access to these spots further. 

I will be out there again this evening to count again and will provide another update. Here is my original eBird list with photos:
https://ebird.org/checklist/S100687780

I have a number of theories myself on why this may be happening, but would love to hear any and all ideas anyone else has!




--
Liam Huber
Butte Co.


Bruce Deuel
 

Hi Liam and all.
I suspect the heavy snow and rain, and very cold temperatures, experienced in eastern Washington and Idaho wintering areas, drove these birds south.  It would have been informative if any of them had had neck collars, as the Idaho wintering birds, at least, have been collared in the past.
Cheers,
Bruce Deuel
Red Bluff


On Fri, Jan 14, 2022 at 9:30 AM Liam Huber <Liamhuber24@...> wrote:
Hey folks,

Yesterday morning I discovered a group of FIFTY-ONE Trumpeter Swans on a ranch pond in Butte County (at the intersection of hwys 149 & 99). To call this unprecedented would be the understatement of the century. The previous documented high count I could find for the central valley (in eBird) was 6... They are constantly trumpeting and are very easy to pick out among the near equal numbers of Tundras. We returned in the evening and all the swans had moved to the Harter Rd. fields across 99, before eventually flying off to a night roost at dusk. My final count in the fields was SEVENTY-SEVEN Trumpeters!!! This should be a continuing cycle, with swans on the pond early in the day and in the fields later. 

I was initially hesitant about posting this because the swans can only be viewed from the side of the highway. Not much I can do now, as I figure word will spread regardless, so here are some directions/instructions for viewing.

If you decide to come view the swans, DO NOT cross any fences. Both the ponds & fields are private property. When viewing the pond (39.614604,-121.680814), just pull as far off the road (pretty wide shoulder here) as you can and try to limit your time outside the vehicle. Viewing at the fields is a bit easier, as there is a spot to park off the highway by the gate here: 39.606704,-121.690985. 

Please, use common sense and be safe while viewing these swans. It would be awesome if folks could not spend extra long periods at these spots, that way the limited parking doesn't clog up. Also don't want to give CHP (very active in this area) any reasons to limit our access to these spots further. 

I will be out there again this evening to count again and will provide another update. Here is my original eBird list with photos:

I have a number of theories myself on why this may be happening, but would love to hear any and all ideas anyone else has!




--
Liam Huber
Butte Co.


Steve Hampton
 

Greetings from the Pacific Northwest. I can tell you that the entire Skagit Valley was heavily flooded in December and many of the wintering waterfowl that are normally there disappeared and have not returned.




On Jan 14, 2022, at 11:15 AM, Bruce Deuel <lewisia1980@...> wrote:


Hi Liam and all.
I suspect the heavy snow and rain, and very cold temperatures, experienced in eastern Washington and Idaho wintering areas, drove these birds south.  It would have been informative if any of them had had neck collars, as the Idaho wintering birds, at least, have been collared in the past.
Cheers,
Bruce Deuel
Red Bluff

On Fri, Jan 14, 2022 at 9:30 AM Liam Huber <Liamhuber24@...> wrote:
Hey folks,

Yesterday morning I discovered a group of FIFTY-ONE Trumpeter Swans on a ranch pond in Butte County (at the intersection of hwys 149 & 99). To call this unprecedented would be the understatement of the century. The previous documented high count I could find for the central valley (in eBird) was 6... They are constantly trumpeting and are very easy to pick out among the near equal numbers of Tundras. We returned in the evening and all the swans had moved to the Harter Rd. fields across 99, before eventually flying off to a night roost at dusk. My final count in the fields was SEVENTY-SEVEN Trumpeters!!! This should be a continuing cycle, with swans on the pond early in the day and in the fields later. 

I was initially hesitant about posting this because the swans can only be viewed from the side of the highway. Not much I can do now, as I figure word will spread regardless, so here are some directions/instructions for viewing.

If you decide to come view the swans, DO NOT cross any fences. Both the ponds & fields are private property. When viewing the pond (39.614604,-121.680814), just pull as far off the road (pretty wide shoulder here) as you can and try to limit your time outside the vehicle. Viewing at the fields is a bit easier, as there is a spot to park off the highway by the gate here: 39.606704,-121.690985. 

Please, use common sense and be safe while viewing these swans. It would be awesome if folks could not spend extra long periods at these spots, that way the limited parking doesn't clog up. Also don't want to give CHP (very active in this area) any reasons to limit our access to these spots further. 

I will be out there again this evening to count again and will provide another update. Here is my original eBird list with photos:

I have a number of theories myself on why this may be happening, but would love to hear any and all ideas anyone else has!




--
Liam Huber
Butte Co.