I was excited to find tundra swans on a small pond west of Mossleigh last weekend. The bird migrations north are underway and these are among the most elegant of the travelers. As sunset approached, small bevies of swans took flight so I had several opportunities to photograph their takeoffs where they run along the water as they gather speed before lifting into the air. On one of these launches, I dropped the shutter speed to 1/20th of a second and panned with a pair in order to blur the background and their wings. I find swans in motion to be beautiful and I always think of ballet choreography when I watch them.
There are large gatherings of swans on the prairie around Frank Lake right now. This area is on the migration path and I really enjoy getting to see these birds when they pass through. This Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) was sharing a small flat of ice apart from a small group. I watched them, and they watched me for a few minutes.
Then they took their running launch to get into the sky. Heading into a steady headwind, they seemed to gain altitude very quickly once they were airborne.