“Trumpeter Swans, Edge of Spring”

Hiking through Schweitzer Marsh a week ago I was struck by two distant (approx. 300 yards) white dots contrasted against the dark shoreline that appeared to be growing. After about a minute they had doubled in size and seemed to be swimming directly towards me. About 100 yards from the bank where I was standing I recognized the dots as a pair of swans, presumably the very common Mute Swans. I frequently see them (an invasive species from Europe) on the marsh in late March during the spring migration. As they floated closer I could see their black bills and realized these were actually Trumpeter Swans, a species that had been hunted almost to extinction by the late 30’s.  I had come across a pair in northern Michigan several years ago and was fascinated with their history, especially the fact there are still less than 500 in the Midwest. Curious about me, they continued until they were about 100 feet away at which point they stopped, each trumpeted two low notes and proceeded back from where they had come.