First warbler of spring
DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS — If I hadn’t chased the warmly colored, oh-so-LeContey-looking sparrows down the hill, I probably would have seen the pair of swans come right past me. But as it was, I didn’t spot them until they were flying away.
Caught totally off guard, my brain retrieved and discarded several possibilities before screaming, “Swans! Swans!” Meanwhile, the huge white waterfowl grew more distant, and I strained to make out any details in the fading light. Rather than settling on the lake, they continued south until I couldn’t see them anymore.
I never saw whether the birds had black or orange bills. Tundra Swans would be a really extraordinary record in late March, I think. It may be more likely that the birds were free-flying Mute Swans, but I’ll never know, and that galls me.
They really were magnificent, those enormous white birds on powerful wings. Somehow, I wish I could be content to leave it at that.
Signs of change were everywhere this evening. The resident winter Canvasbacks are long gone, but small rafts of transient ducks rested on the lake. Those Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, and others will probably be gone by tomorrow. A Winter Wren flitted through dead vegetation near the ground, not far from the place where a Black-and-white Warbler appeared between new, green leaves.