Welcome to the Island Rambles Blog

Welcome to my blog world. This is a photo blog about my life on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. I take photos of the birds and scenery I find. I hope you enjoy your time here and please come back again. PHOTOS WILL ENLARGE IF CLICKED. The photos are slide show enabled if you click on them. If you click on the top lighthouse photo it always takes you to the most recent summary list of my postings.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Swan Songs of Life



Today is the letter "T" for the Trumpeter Swans.  The Trumpeter Swan is the largest of North America's native birds. It nests in the far north wetlands of Alaska.  This is not a Sad Swan Song story as the Trumpeter is a success story.



The pairs nest for life and we do see the little family groups arrive here at this time of year.  They winter all over British Columbia in the lakes, estuaries and deltas.  We see them in the flooded farm fields.  They seem to love to eat carrots from the farm fields and this is a benefit to the farmer as the old crop can harbour diseases. Around 6,000 swans winter on this island. There are a lot of them in the Comox area where the fields can support around 3,000 of them. We see them in Cowichan also.



It is a great success story for at one time there were only 77 of them breeding in Canada as they were hunted. Swan skins were sold for the down for powder puffs and hats. They are the largest waterfowl on the planet earth.


The main threat to them is pollution and also from the lead shot as they like to gravel which is ingesting small stones or grit into the gizzard to digest food and by mistake they take the lead. Also they suffer from loss of habitat especially in Alaska but also in the wintering areas.



They weigh around twenty to thirty pounds and have a wingspan of around six to seven feet.  They can fly at 50mph and can achieve elevations of 27,000 feet. They live for about 12 to 20 years but in captivity can live as long as 35 years. They do a lot of sleeping here as there is ample food and the temperature is warmer for them. They are well adapted to the cold of Alaska and can withstand temperatures of -30C.



 Around 40% of the Pacific Coast Group of Swans winter on Vancouver Island. They will always return to the same nest site in the north, leaving our area around Valentines Day or later, and they always return to the same wintering fields each year also for the duration of their lives. And that is why it is so important that their nest areas and wintering areas are protected and not contaminated.

This was a little family that spent the winter in a nearby field and we saw them almost each day last year.


 
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Not My Swan Song:
I am not sure if I want to post this so I have removed and added it about ten times today. Those of you who blog will understand the conflict when we have a nature themed blog. The blog is part of my support in life so will post.

So on a more personal note I have always been goofy and now I have wacky blood (leukemia) but it will not stop me from blogging or taking my photos of birds and nature. I hope my readers and my bloggers will continue to follow along with me. I will not be changing the blog, it will still be about nature. This is not my swan song.  I have a lot more blogging to do....you can also friend me on my Facebook personal page or my Fan page if you wish to. I also spend a lot of time on Twitter and have a fun page there so if you tweet let me know so I can follow you.



Your comments and your blogs mean a lot to me even though we never met in person I feel I know a lot of you from reading your blogs for years. My dream was to own a bed and breakfast just for bloggers and birders on a lake or near the shoreline.  I guess that dream will have to wait for a while. I hope you enjoyed the Trumpeter photos and please leave me a comment.


Don't forget to check out my twitter page, my Facebook page, my YouTube site.
Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story.  I may not remember to enter them all but I still list them for others and as this is the quick way for me to do it.
Click on these links to find great blogs and photos.
 
 
We are at the letter "T" at the ABC Meme this week for Trumpeter Swans.

The Bird D'pot Thank you Anni
Our World Tuesday Thank you Our World Team
Sweet Shot Tuesday Thank you Kent
ABC Wednesday Thank you Denise, Roger and Team
Nature Notes Wednesday Thank you Michelle
Outdoors Wednesday Thank you Susan
Wild Bird Wednesday Thank you Stewart






 I list all the memes for the week now as I can only spend a short time on the computer.  To continue reading posts you must click older post below or see the index at the top or the side or pick a popular post or label from the sidebar.
 
HAVE A GREAT WEEK BLOGGERS AND BIRDERS!!  AND THANKS TO THE TWITTER FRIENDS I HAVE MADE ALSO.


80 comments:

  1. What a beautiful bird and your pics are superb!! Thanks so much for sharing the beauty and the information!! Have a great week, Nora!!

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  2. So many interesting facts about this beautiful bird. I'm glad to hear their numbers are up. Your photos are spectacular!

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  3. Wow! magnificent photography ~ of nature's beauties for OWT ~ thanks, carol, xxx

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  4. Gorgeous pictures. I love seeing those outstretched wings. I pray that you will be ok.I am glad you chose to share your life and health.

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    1. Thanks Ruth. I am glad we are Facebook friends also.

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  5. Great serties!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River.

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  6. Your photos are always amazing. I admire your strength and the matter of fact way you have approached what must be such a difficult subject to expose to a world of strangers. Continue the fight and put my name down for a room when you open your B and B.

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    1. Thanks Fun60. I hope one day to meet you at my Birding Bed and Breakfast.

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  7. Beautiful Nora!!! I especially love the ones with the sunlight behind them...with the water sparkling around them...almost fitting like a tiara on such regal birds!!

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    1. Hi Anni, yes I like how they look in the backlit photos and the sparkles. I seldom dare take the
      risk to shoot backlit and this time it worked.

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  8. Thanks Anni, yes those are my favourites also. I never expected the backlit ones to turn out. Each photo brings back a wonderful memory for me. In those dark ones, it was near dark and I was standing in a rain drizzle with water
    all around me and it was freezing out!!! It was just in a farmers field.

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  9. Beautiful photos Nora… I send you healing energy. My dad's an oncologist (retired now)… leukemia treatment has come a long, long way… this is NOT your swan song, not yet.

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    1. Thanks Laura...your webpage is beautiful.

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  10. Wonderful photos Nora and lovely to know they are doing well. The idea of them eating carrots somehow makes me smile! They will be able to see well after dark ;>)...at least that's what my mother told me to make me eat mine. I always love coming by because of your beautiful photos and because of all the information you provide.

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    1. Thanks Sallie....I have a picture somewhere of them just chucking down the carrots...will have to find it. Yes they can see really good and move away from the camera fast.

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  11. What magnificent birds they are! Ever since two flew over my head and I felt their wing beat and that I had been touched by angels, I have equated them to earth angels. I am infinitely sorry to hear of your dis-easement and will include you in the list of those i pray for each night. I like your ambition and when you realise it, I will paddle across the Oceans on my walking frame if need be, just to stay there.I have wondered for a while, as your post changed, if all was well. Immerse yourself in nature, as I know you are doing, and with God's help all things can pass and also come to pass. Just trust that for some reason you need to have this detour on your path.

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    1. Thanks Arija and thanks for friending me on Facebook also. My hubby has been in hospital also this week getting a new hip so it is a sad week for me.

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  12. Love seeing the trumpeter swans there. I just discovered that they also winter here in the wetlands of the Sacramento Valley. After seeing your beautiful photos, I want to drive there right away to see such a wonderful sight.

    Thank you for sharing your health status with us. Roger and I have mostly had a nature blog, but we also post quite a bit about what's going on in our lives. When he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010, we found our blogging buddies were an incredible emotional support for us. Sending you good wishes, Nora.

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    1. Thanks Robin. I remember when Roger was ill. I had a hard time putting in the post as I don't want to change the focus of the blog to my illness but I really need the support of my blogger friends so forced myself to put it in. I am glad I did now.

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  13. Wow, these are awesome shots of the Swans! The lighting and poses are just fantastic! Have a happy week!

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  14. gorgeous swan photos ... I love taking photos of them too ... good for you for not letingt that wacky blood get you down ... stay strong and think positive

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    1. thanks Linda...I am just having a bad week this week with hubby in the hospital. It does help
      to have the blog to take my mind off of things and force me to do something.

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  15. The photos are wonderful - I love these birds. So sorry to hear about your health - and I understand your inner conflict on this. Take care and keep up your hope. I've known several people who's had leukemia and have beaten it and hopefully you will too. .

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  16. They are magnificent creatures and these are magnificent shots. I am sending good wishes your way. Your blog is beautiful and I am glad it has also been good for you.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment to me.

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  17. Beautiful swans photos, Nora!

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  18. Gorgeous photos of these gorgeous birds. I'm sorry to hear about your health issues. Lots of strength and hugs to you!

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  19. HI Nora Well this has been quite a week for you. I hope your hubby is doing well from his hip replacement. Your health issues are certainly serious however I believe God is in control if we trust Him. I think you have made a brave but correct decision in telling bloggers about your situation because, even though we cannot physically be with you, we can support and encourage you through blogging. You have a drreamof a B&B, follow your dream. I have had a B&B although retired now and although it is a lot of work, it was great fun and the people and stories you come across are fantastic. Stay close to nature, it is a great comfprt, keep snapping and blogging.
    Now this post is wonderful, not only all your photographs but the information that goes with them. I love the sparkles on the water. You will know from seeing and reading me blogs, that Swans have a special place in my heart. Even today I will be posting Whooper Swans that come to Northern Ireland in the winter time.

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comment Margaret.

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  20. Oh goodness - the backlit swan shots are fabulous!

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  21. So beautiful shots and informative post!

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  22. Beautiful photos ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

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    1. Hello new readers Celine and Philippe.. you have a wonderful blog.

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  23. Lovely serie of swan-photos!

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    1. Thanks Hans, your photos are brilliant.

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  24. great shots. what an amazing creatures to stand that much cold.

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    1. Hey ewok, we have been blogging together for so many years now.

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  25. These are wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing them with us, especially the info on them--I learn a lot by blogging! So sorry to hear about your health. May this be a very short chapter in your life. I will keep you in my prayers.

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    1. Hi Betty...I liked your blog from New Zealand so I followed you. thanks.

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  26. I am very sorry for your problems with your "wacky" blood and I wish you all the very best.
    The swans are all beautiful but the second photo is very special - I like the way the body of the swan is dark and the wings are so light and bright.

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    1. Hi Mick...yes I like it best too. I never am very good at backlit photos but for some reason
      these turned out to be my best photos.

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  27. What a fabulous set of photos, I have never had the pleasure of seeing this swan, so your pics and narative have taught me somthing , thank you.
    All the very best Gordon.

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    1. Thanks Gordon...hopefully you will travel and see these swans someday. They are so
      beautiful.

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  28. Your photos are amazing! I have a painting of trumpeter swans by Robert Bateman and I must say your photos are as good as his paintings. Stay strong through this battle you're facing - I know of that battle as Lorne has gone through colon cancer + chemo and recently had 1/3 of his liver removed because of two small spots. Now he's battling chemo again and has actually ended up in the hospital due to the side effects. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

    Leslie
    abcw team

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    1. Hi Les, Hope Lorne is doing better each day. And hope your ankle is healed up so you can walk the puppy. Your puppy is really big now! Wow.

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  29. So happy for a happy ending. Your post a couple weeks back was great, but so sad.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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    1. yes Rog, it is a great success story of how nature can return if mankind allows it to.

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  30. Gorgeous photos, especially that second one. It is encouraging to see that a species can recover from such a low number. I can't imagine what people were thinking, killing such beautiful creatures for such trivial things.

    I'm so sorry to hear of your health challenges, and I do understand your reluctance to post about them. But I have found that my blogger friends are a great source of comfort and encouragement in times of trouble. Have courage, and trust in "the kindness of strangers".

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    1. Hi Maracas, thanks for coming here, I agree in times when man was unconscious and unaware these things were done to nature unknowingly. Now we are conscious and aware so it is offensive to earth when we continue to kill and for our greed.
      I am glad I put my personal note in. I am happy to receive the support of friends I have on this web of the world. This is the story of my life and my bloggers are part of it.

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  31. Absolutely fabulous photography! That second shot is stunning.
    I am sorry to hear the news about your health, I have a friend that beat leukemia, there are very good treatments now. Stay strong, and gather only positive energy around you.

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    1. thanks Karen...I appreciate your support.

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  32. Gorgeous pictures of the swans !!
    Gattina
    ABC Team

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    1. Cheers Gattina...thanks so much.

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  33. Great post! Splendid photos of the beautiful swans...
    such nice find the place to take the photos..

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    1. Hi Swati, Love your blog about historical India. Nice to see a new reader.

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  34. Beautiful photos!
    May God bless you with as you cope with your diagnosis. He is the Great Physician!
    Lea

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    1. Hey Lea, nice to see you here. thanks so much for the support.

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  35. Very graceful birds! You got such lovely captures. Can't imagine them being killed for feathers.

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    1. Hi Indrani in India. Yes it is such a shame. They were almost wiped off the planet and were down to a very small number. Now they are Back! On the earth ship we are all connected and we have it within our control to advance.

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  36. What a fantastic swan. Not one I've seen before. Great shots.

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  37. Beautiful series. Their feathers must be good to keep them warm at -30C.

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  38. WOW, they are SO beautiful!

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  39. Glorious photos. Greetings from Montreal.

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  40. All best wishes to you for a full and speedy recovery. Blessings and peace on you and your family. Your wonderful blog helps spread beauty and joy in the world. Thanks for keeping it up.

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  41. Oh Nora... I am so sorry to read this. I understand the conflict of sharing or not especially as we both have nature blogs. But I read all the supportive comments and I agree. The bloggers have been so very kind to me as you know. I decided that I could not separate my challenges from my love of nature. My life is nature too... Human nature.... Hugs to you.... Michelle

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  42. Nice pictures - I do like swans.

    Within about one day of my Eastern Yellow Robin post I was put in contact with the person studying the birds - thats why I like the web!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

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  43. What a spectacular Swan series, Nora! Magnificent birds and you portray them beautifully. Thank you!

    Wally - in that winter wonderland known as Florida.

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  44. Interesting information and a great collection of photos Nora. Aren't swans just so very elegant.

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Hi!
Thanks so much for visiting my blog on Vancouver Island Nature and Birds.
I love to take photos of places we go to on Vancouver Island and the birds and animals we see.
I love also to get comments so please leave a note for me.
Cheers and thanks again. Nora
Comment moderation is on so the comment does not publish right away.
PLEASE DO NOT PUT A LINK IN THE COMMENT ANYMORE. I AM SORRY BUT THAT IS THE WAY IT IS NOW.

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