[Mnbird] Pool 8 Swan info - summary of replies

Refsnider refsn001 at umn.edu
Wed Nov 26 10:25:30 CST 2014

In addition to Sarah Holger's reply that was posted on MOU-net, a number 
of replies came to me privately.  My thanks to everyone who responded.  
In brief, they said:

- from Friday 11/21:  600-700 swans way out in the channel.  "No sounds 
... to speak of."  [see my note below.] ... eagles (probably 120 along 
the length of Pool 8) were the more entertaining avian feature

- At Weaver Bottoms on 11/12 & 11/13:  a few hundred swans, but their 
shallow feeding areas were completely frozen.  Thousands of divers in 
deeper water.

- Although I'm not sure which species of swan was being referred to, 
another reply said:  a number  of swans easily viewable from shore at 
the Prescott bridge.

- Report from Saturday 11/22:  At the Brownsville overlook there were 
40-60 bald eagles perched in the trees, on the ice, and flying overhead; 
not too many swans seen, but the eagles were "incredible" and made up 
for the low swan numbers

- Another report from 11/22:  4 swans seen near Wabasha; a flock of 
about 100 swans just up river from the Brownsville overlook; was told at 
the visitor center that there were swans at Brownsville 2 weeks ago; 
"the Miss. R. is frozen in many places all the way down to Brownsville."

In short, all reports indicate the tundra swans have mostly moved on, 
probably due to the developing ice in their shallower water feeding areas.

My personal thoughts:  If you've never been there, seriously consider 
adding Pool 8 to your November birding list.  If one visits Pool 8 on a 
great November day, you are rewarded by seeing in excess of 10,000 
tundra swans, sometimes over 30,000.  Many of them are in dense groups 
very near shore, so the Brownsville Overlook provides a phenomenal 
visual and audio experience. Actually, the sound they produce is 
probably the most impressive thing.  Usually there are a lot of various 
dabbling ducks close by, so you can spend a lot of productive time 
studying them. Farther out there will be thousands of diving ducks and 
mergansers, so a scope is very useful for them.  And then there are the 
bald eagles; you can see scores, sometimes hundreds, along the length of 
Pool 8, but many will be perched on the shoreline, on the edge of the 
ice, or on nearby trees.  They are very entertaining, too.  But with all 
this being said, it's also easy to miss the great November days on Pool 
8.  I believe it was Fred Lesher who, in past years, posted a lot of 
timely and very useful autumn waterfowl information from this part of 
the Mississippi River.  Without Fred's fine reports, and with the FWS 
aerial survey data being posted so belatedly, it's all too easy to miss 
the peak swan numbers, like we did this year.  I, for one, would 
certainly appreciate seeing additional and more timely swan migration 
reports in 2015.

Good birding to all.
Ron Refsnider

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