[Tweeters] Trumpeter Swan nocturnal roost at Willey Lake (Whatcom Co.)?

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Sat Dec 14 11:01:09 PST 2019


A few years ago, I discovered that Willey Lake, a few miles west of Lynden
(Whatcom County) on the Willeys Lake Road, is a pretty good spot for
waterfowl, and sometimes shorebirds. This very small lake (only about 100
yards across)- better described as really just a large farm pond-- always
has far more waterfowl than you would expect on a pond of this size.
Yesterday, on impulse, I visited the lake after checking my mailbox in
Blaine, late in the afternoon, to see what might be there. To my surprise,
it seems to have become, at least for awhile, a major night-time roost for
Trumpeter Swans! The much larger Wiser Lake, not far away, has been well
known as a Trumpeter Swan night roost for years, and I am wondering if some
of them have switched to Willey Lake, at least for awhile.

When I arrived at 4:26 PM, a few minutes after sunset, there were already 77
Trumpeter Swans on the lake, with more arriving every minute. There were
also about 500 Mallards on the lake, along with a few individuals of 5 other
duck species. Small flocks of Trumpeters, calling loudly, kept coming in,
and finally tapered off just before I left at 4:45. By then, the lake was
almost wall-to-wall Trumpeters- at least 400 of them- with at least a couple
of Tundra Swans in the mix. (I could hear the Tundras' higher-pitched calls,
but couldn't pick them out visually.) The din from all the Trumpeter Swans
calling was terrific, especially since some of them were only a few feet
away from my ears!

Also of interest, rather rare for December, was a group of about 6
Long-billed Dowitchers feeding along the east edge of the lake.

If anyone wants to witness this Trumpeter Swan spectacle, I would recommend
visiting Willey Lake around sunset sometime in the next few days. Who knows
if they will continue roosting there all winter?

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net

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