I was working in Essex county today, doing some waterfowl surveys. The day turned out pretty nice, despite the cool temperatures.
Didn't have much 'on-site', however I was able to stop in at the Onion Fields shortly, and picked up the drake Eurasian Wigeon (reported on ebird) sleeping in the fields directly NE of the main Point Pelee park gate. See below for a shit-tacular photo!
|You see it??? What! You don't? Ya, its a pretty shitty shot|
Anyways getting to the lagoons, I saw a few birds, including 3 Tundra Swan's in the north cell. I decided to get the scope out, and quickly noticed one of the 3 swans was quite weird......
Seeing how much yellow was on the bill made me instantly think Whooper Swan, but after getting a pic of it and looking at Sibley, I had my serious thoughts on Bewick's.
Anyways, long story short, I sent my pics to Mike, who also thought it looked good for Bewick's. He sent it to Ken Abraham (OMNR waterfowl expert) and he also thought Bewick's. I've got a few comments back from others, who all think Bewick's. What do you think?
I did read one paper very quickly regarding the identification of Whistling and Bewick's Tundra Swans ("A comparative analysis of the bill markings of Whistling and Bewick's Swans and out-of-range occurrences of the two taxa"; Evans and Sladen, 1980 in the Auk). To summarize their findings, they found the maximum amount of yellow marking on the entire bill of a Whistling Swan was 15% vs. the range of 22-42% of the bill on Bewick's (average = 31.5%). Looking really quickly at this bird, I'd say it has ~30% yellow on the bill. You can't see it in the pic, but the 'bridge' of the bill was also yellow.
I've never seen a Bewick's Swan before so I would really enjoy any comments you may have. Even negative :)