Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Cranes stand in the Horicon Marsh oblivious to the rain. The Trumpeter Swans enjoy the view to the west while the Sandhill Cranes enjoy the view to the east along Highway 49.
This Northern Pintail dabbles in the water for aquatic insects. Northern Pintail populations declined throughout most of their range at a rate of 2.6% per year between 1966 and 2012, resulting in a cumulative decline of 72%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. They are listed as a Common Bird in Steep Decline by the 2014 State of the Birds Report. Thirty-three birds common in the U.S. are listed. These birds have lost more than half of their global population over the last four decades. Many of the birds on the list nest at the Horicon Marsh. Thankfully, there is a Comprehensive Conservation Plan at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and wildlife and land management plans at the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area.
A cacophony of sound filled the air along Highway 49 with Canada Geese honking, ducks quacking, and Sandhill Cranes making their unique rolling call. Hundreds of each species spread throughout the water. Each species banded together in its own area and all the species were relatively congenial with one another.
A small flock of Snow Geese joined the symphony. Oh for a 1200 mm lens!
Snow Geese have two color forms. The white form is mostly white with a few black tail feathers. The blue form has a white head and a dark body. The Snow Goose is also called the Blue Goose because of the blue gray feathers on the dark body of the blue form.
A Tundra Swan stayed away from the crowd by swimming alone on the north side of the road. The eye of the Tundra Swan is more distinct from its beak than the Trumpeter Swan’s eye. The Tundra Swan also has a bit of yellow coloring in front of the eye.
The eye catching Northern Pintail was paddling along and dipping its head in the water beside the auto tour.
It was another great afternoon spent at the Horicon Marsh.
This was taken at the small wayside on the east end of Highway 49.
I took this photo on Highway Z on my drive to the Horicon Marsh. Autumn is so beautiful in Wisconsin.
The Trumpeter Swans are growing and continuing to enjoy swimming in an area near the auto tour.
Some of the trees are at their peak and putting on a spectacular show.
This Green-winged Teal looks a bit rough due to molting. The Green-winged Teal is the smallest dabbling duck in North America.
They also enjoy Ballet.
This is the pretty female Green-winged Teal.
I love the interaction between the Green-winged Teal and the Canada Goose.
I believe these are Adult nonbreeding Dowitchers. The tiger striping on their tales is an identifying feature. It is amazing that standing on one foot is restful!
This female Northern Pintail enjoys chatting and swimming.
Swimming only briefly, the Lesser Yellowlegs took off shortly after I arrived.
Autumn is a great time to view birds that are migrating through the Horicon Marsh. What do you think this one is?
Here is another view. I would love to hear what you think in the comments section.
Comment: Jerry asked a great question in the comments area. What is a dabbling duck? Dabblers feed on the surface of the water by opening their beaks to filter out tiny organisms. They may also tip up, leaving their legs and tails in the air. They don’t like to submerge their whole body. These include Canada Geese, Trumpeter Swans, and Wood Ducks. Divers, on the other hand, dive underwater to feed. These include Pied-billed Grebes and Ruddy Ducks.