cygnus (swan) columbianus (the Columbia River where Lewis and Clark discovered this bird)
Saturday, April 10, 1982 — 7:45 am
Racine County, Wisconsin — Nicholson Wildlife Center
Sally and I drove up to Racine on Friday night to spend the weekend with the Weddles. On Saturday, Ken and I got up early and went birding at Nicholson, a large slough surrounded by farm fields. Part of the slough is open and part is marsh.
Four swans (an adult and three immatures) were swimming in the open area. We saw them when we were still far away. One tipped its head and neck entirely under the surface. Two of them reared up and flapped their wings (beautiful). They seemed to swim low in the water. They held their necks straight up while swimming, and I was amazed at how much they towered over the ducks.
After a few minutes, they took off, running across the surface for a surprisingly short time. They headed south, then veered off to the southwest, flying in a line with their necks straight out.