Last Sunday, CFL director, Steve Carpenter, happened to be out and about with his camera and spotting scope on the Lake Mendota shoreline. Out in the middle of the lake, where the ice edge met the open water, he spied a large gathering of migrating tundra swans. “There were several hundred of them in the center of the lake,” he reported. The birds were “too far away for my camera but visible in a spotting scope,” enabling Carpenter to get this shot. “It’s a great year for bird watching,” Carpenter says, because all the northern species are in town and we are a long way from [Mendota] freezing.”
The tundra swans were in the middle of their 4,000 mile migration from their breeding grounds in the Alaskan and Canadian arctic tundra to milder climes along the eastern seaboard – places like Chesapeake Bay and the North Carolina shoreline.
Accidental birding and checking one of the “life list” – just another perk of living in Madison and in our unique geography of Lake. City. Lake. UPDATE: As of today (January 4th) the swans are still out, waiting for their close-up!
For more on the tundra swan migration, you can watch this National Geographic video below.(Excuse the formatting issues, but the video should still play)