Outdoors

Double the pleasure: 2 trumpeter swan pairs nesting at Turnbull

Cygnet-ure arrival: Trumpeter swans are back in a family way at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge this week. This photo shows the female rising above a newly hatched fifth cygnet on Thursday morning as two siblings look on from the nest. Her new mate had been across Middle Pine Lake, but brought two other cygnets hatched this week across the pond to take a look at the new arrival, the last of the five eggs to hatch. The female mated in 2009 with the late Solo, the male trumpeter who faithfully returned to Turnbull for two decades as a widower before finding a breeding female and ending Turnbull’s drought of trumpeter production. Solo and his new mate raised broods in 2009 and 2010. They returned last year, but Solo disappeared before they could mate, ending what biologists estimate was a remarkable 35- to 48-year tenure at the refuge. (Rich Landers)
Cygnet-ure arrival: Trumpeter swans are back in a family way at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge this week. This photo shows the female rising above a newly hatched fifth cygnet on Thursday morning as two siblings look on from the nest. Her new mate had been across Middle Pine Lake, but brought two other cygnets hatched this week across the pond to take a look at the new arrival, the last of the five eggs to hatch. The female mated in 2009 with the late Solo, the male trumpeter who faithfully returned to Turnbull for two decades as a widower before finding a breeding female and ending Turnbull’s drought of trumpeter production. Solo and his new mate raised broods in 2009 and 2010. They returned last year, but Solo disappeared before they could mate, ending what biologists estimate was a remarkable 35- to 48-year tenure at the refuge. (Rich Landers)

WILDLIFE — Turnbull Wildlife Refuge south of Cheney is in a family way this month with critters birthing and hatching young all over the place. (See list of 108 bird species documented at Turnbull in just two weeks at end of this post).

Fans of the late the trumpeter swan named Solo will revel in news that TWO trumpeter pairs are nesting at the refuge this year, up from one pair last year and no pairs for 22 years before 2009.

Solo was one of the original Turnbull trumpeters who lost his mate to a predator in the 1980s. He defended his territory at Turnbull through a 22-year drought without a suitable breeding partner before siring a family in 2009.  

The trumpeters are crowd pleasers because they're so visible. The nesting pairs are on Middle Pine and Cheever ponds. If all goes well and their cygnets hatch in June, the attentive parents will parade their families for all to see from the visitor paths all summer and into the fall.

Amateur photographer Carlene Hardt focused on the trumpeters for two years and recently published a nifty book of photos and trumpeter information, “A Swan and His Family.” The book, available at the Turnbull Refuge headquarters store, chronicles Solo's family life for several years.

Also worth checking out at the store is the booklet, “Discover Birds at Turnbull,” published after years of research by students at the former Discovery School.  The book has good information about a variety of Turnbull bird species with photos by local expert photographers.  

The book is a showcase for Turnbull's service in providing wildlife and nature education for up to 8,000 students who visit the refuge each year.

Meanwhile, don't forget all the other bird species found at the refuge.  Click “continue reading” for Tuesday's report report from Mike Rule, refuge wildlife biologist.

Species List, Turnbull NWR, 5/13/2013 - 5/28/2013 — from Mike Rule

Here is the list of species seen on Turnbull NWR in the last 2 weeks.  There year we have 2 nesting pairs of trumpeters , One on Middle Pine Lake and another on Cheever Lake. 

pied-billed grebe

eared grebe

double crested cormorant

American bittern

great blue heron

trumpeter swan

Canada goose

wood duck

green-winged teal

mallard

northern pintail

blue-winged teal

cinnamon teal

northern shoveler

gadwall

American wigeon

canvasback

redhead

ring-necked duck

lesser scaup

bufflehead

hooded merganser

ruddy duck

turkey vulture

osprey

bald eagle

northern harrier

red-tailed hawk

American kestrel

ring-necked pheasant

California quail

wild turkey

American coot

sora

Virginia rail

killdeer

lesser yellow-legs

spotted sandpiper

long-billed dowitcher

Baird's sandpiper

Wilson's phalarope

Wilson's snipe

California gull

ring-billed gull

black tern

mourning dove

Eurasian collared dove

great horned owl

northern pygmy owl

black-chinned hummingbird

calliope hummingbird

red-naped sapsucker

downy woodpecker

red-shafted flicker

hairy woodpecker

Western wood-pewee

Say's phoebe

dusky flycatcher

Hammond's flycatcher

eastern kingbird

black-billed magpie

common raven

American crow

horned lark

tree swallow

cliff swallow

n. rough-winged swall

violet-green swallow

barn swallow

mountain chickadee

black-capped chickadee

white-breasted nuthatch

red-breasted nuthatch

pygmy nuthatch

marsh wren

house wren

western bluebird

Townsend's solitaire

American robin

gray catbird

European starling

Townsend's warbler

yellow warbler

common yellowthroat

Wilson's warbler

yellow-rumped warbler

Western tanager

lark sparrow

savannah sparrow

song sparrow

white-crowned sparrow

dark-eyed junco

chipping sparrow

spotted towhee

black-headed grosbeak

Brewer's blackbird

red-winged blackbird

western meadowlark

yellow-headed blackbird

Bullock's oriole

brown-headed cowbird

evening grosbeak

Cassin's finch

house finch

red crossbill

pine siskin

American goldfinch

house sparrow




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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