My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Search of Swans

Last week, one of the volunteer couples went to Marysville, a little town about 50 miles from here,  and found thousands of Swans.  Then one of the visitors was talking about going to see them.

All that talk made me want to see all those swans so I decided to leave early today and go look for them. I had to start taking pictures as soon as I went outside.  Our dawn was beautiful and then I turned and saw the light on the Coast Range.

The good light lasted only a matter of minutes before mostly clouds and fog returned. I took the back roads to Colusa and then caught Hwy. 20 to Yuba City. I found a few picture-worthy subjects along the way. One was this strange windmill.

And I was on the south side of Sutter Buttes and I had to take another picture of them in the dim light.

 I tried to get closer to the Buttes and took a road leading towards them. A few minutes later, I found my first swans.

I crossed the Sacramento River and saw a sign for a boat launch site and took a little detour.

I found lots of beehives. They are needed to pollinate the nut trees that grow everywhere in the Sacramento valley.

Before I got to Yuba City, I saw a historical marker about Thompson's seedless grapes and stopped to read it. An Englishman, William Thompson, farmed here and, in 1872 ordered three cuttings of Lady de Coverly grapes from New York.  Only one cutting lived and became the parent of all the Thompson seedless grapes.  The other interesting thing was that the land was partially developed and had palm trees on it and had no sign of any grapes.

It was still cloudy when I got to Yuba City so I decided to do a little shopping at a Walgreens and a Bargain Market. Then I decided to find an auto parts store and get a fuse use to fix my car radio.  And I found some cheap gas.  By the time I was ready to proceed, the sky was beautiful.

I got distracted again by the Feather River.  I saw a park under the bridge and spent several minutes trying to find how to reach it. When I got there, I took a little walk with camera and binoculars.  Two of the birds I saw was a female Nuttall's woodpecker and my first California Lincoln sparrow.

Finally I was back on track to find the swans. I followed Hwy. 20 out of Marysville and soon was seeing big white spots. They were indeed swans.  And a few ponds later, I found  lots of them.These are tundra swans.  The immature swans have the pinkish beaks and dusky heads. I think some family groups are still together.


That's the east side of the Sutter Buttes behind the birds. I spent the rest of the afternoon circumnavigating them.  They are the reason it took me ten minutes to download all my pictures from today. They will be the subject of my next blog.  But we did have a little color in our sunset today.