Posted by: Blythe | March 2, 2009

Snow, Snow Geese, and the Trumpet of Swans

Trumpeter SwansThey are back! The call of the Trumpeter Swan is most certainly the call of the return of spring! You can tell the swans, pictured at left, by the black beak that extends up toward the eyes and by the trumpeting sound they make. The Snow Geese make a much more mellow sound.

Although hundreds, if not thousands of swans and geese can be seen in the Skagit Valley at this time of year, we, too, here in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, are graced by their presence. It’s always exciting to see them return on their way north to their summer breeding grounds.

Apple TreeBird Feeder Under SnowBut just about the time I am dancing ecstactically over the discovery of our first crocus, we get dumped on by a foot of heavy wet snow. And I do mean wet and heavy. The kind that breaks tree branches. The kind that tells fruit trees to go back to sleep. The LBBs (little brown birds) hovered around the feeder under cover of discarded Christmas trees, waiting for me to finish taking the picture so they could get some seed.

Old Man WinterOf course, in light of what the East Coast is enduring, we can hardly complain. But it is still a reminder, even as I gleefully buy packet after packet of veggie and flower seeds, more than I can possibly plant, as I get out my nautical charts and kayak adventure guide books, and as I start planning our next mini-vacation escape – hold on – not so fast – Old Man Winter has not exhaled his last breath. Don’t forget your hat.



  1. Those are some pretty pictures.

    I like Geese they are very beautiful.

  2. Hello,
    I know the Olympic Peninsula area well and was delighted to know that the Trumpeters returned March 1st. You are so right about that signature sound, that and the calls of Sandhill Cranes. I wanted to mention if others look for Trumpeters in coming weeks that we (The Trumpeter Swan Society) have a great identification brochure they can download from our website as well as a host of other information. We’ve been working for Trumpeter Swan restoration for over 40 years now! It’s rewarding and challenging. Please check us out and thank you for sharing this date of return – we like to keep track of such observations.
    Peg Abbott, The Trumpeter Swan Society

    • Actually, for the record, I took the picture of the swans on 2/24; the snowfall was on 2/26. Your site,, is extremely informative! You might be familiar with the Johnson-DeBay swan reserve in the Mount Vernon/Burlington area. My grandmother was Rose DeBay. Thank you for all your hard work in raising awareness and appreciation for these amazing birds.

  3. Yes, they are a gorgeous birds. Property my family used to have in the Skagit Valley (WA State) is now a swan reserve. I have also seen them in the fields outside of Fairbanks, AK. Absolutely amazing! I checked your site (; you have an outstanding collection of wildlife photography! Thanks for visiting my site. And I love the name, “Forest Wander!”

  4. I still smile every time I read about you ecstatically dancing over the first crocus, the LBBs waiting for you to finish taking a picture, gleefully buying seeds and poring over nautical charts.
    I relate except I haven’t been kayaking.

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