Date: 2/24/17 3:57 am
From: Jamie Adams (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: RE: : Trumpeter Swan still on French Broad River, Asheville
Hello all,

I believe it is a Trumpeter, see this link. Middle bill pink is normal for Trumpeter, Tundra juvenile would have more pink. Leg color better and probably most compelling case for Trumpeter and retaining gray plumage longer for subadult bird fits for Trumpeter.

here is text if link not working:

Both Trumpeter and Tundra juveniles are gray in fall and winter. Tundras are brighter silvery gray with black legs and feet. Trumpeters are darker sooty gray, especially in the head and neck area, and their leg and foot color is primarily yellow-orange mottling with some black. Tundra juveniles begin turning white in late December and by mid March are nearly all white. Trumpeter juveniles usually remain darker gray longer, with gray feathers on the head and neck persisting well into spring. In winter, Trumpeter juveniles may vary in age by up to 6 weeks due to geographic differences in hatching dates. As a result, they show considerable individual and geographic variation in the timing of their molt into white plumage. Tundra bill color is usually mottled pink with black tip, with less black at the base than Trumpeters. Trumpeter bills are black at base and tip with a pink middle. Juvenile bill color in winter gradually shifts to all black in both species.

Now look at these pics on eBird of the Asheville bird.

Jamie Adams
Wilmington, NC

From: <carolinabirds-request...> [mailto:<carolinabirds-request...>] On Behalf Of Harry LeGrand
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 4:52 PM
To: ATCClack <atcclack...>
Cc: Simon Thompson <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: : Trumpeter Swan still on French Broad River, Asheville

I haven't seen much if any discussion of this Buncombe County swan. While at Pungo refuge on Monday, Derb Carter and I studied hundreds and hundreds of Tundra Swans at very close range -- less than 100 yards away thru 30+ scopes. We saw none that were 15-20% larger, and thus all we saw were Tundras. So -- what's the connection and concern? Most of the immatures -- identified by light sooty face and neck, if not some pink on the bill, had a strong and clear V-feathering on the forehead where it meets the bill. We did not see this on adults -- white plumage and all dark bills (yellow spot or nor). The adults showed the characteristic rounded or straight-ish meeting of the feathers of the forehead with the top of the bill. But MOST of the immature Tundra Swans showed the V-shape of the feathering at the top of the bill.

My brother in TN e-mailed me earlier about concern over the ID of the Buncombe bird, thinking it might be a Tundra. A lot of the gestalt features I have seen in the photos lean me toward a Tundra Swan -- such as the narrowness of the black bill where it meets the eye, shape of the bill, etc. Of course, we who have not seen the bird in the field cannot judge its overall size from photos; it is a lot bigger than a Mallard in a few photos, but all swans are.

I just read an e-bird report saying the bird is an immature. Some descriptions say the neck is light grayish or light sooty. So -- is the bird an immature? What other marks on the bird -- besides the V-shape of feathering (and no yellow spot on the bill) -- lead folks to identifying the bird as a Trumpeter?

Harry LeGrand

On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 1:36 PM, ATCClack <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>> wrote:
Trumpeter swan is still at Ledges Park just a little bit north as of 12:30 today.
Chris Clack

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

-------- Original message --------
From: Simon Thompson <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>>
Date: 2/18/17 5:37 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: <carolinabirds...><mailto:<carolinabirds...>
Subject: Fwd: Trumpeter Swan on French Broad River, Asheville
We are pretty confident that the swan on the French Broad River just north of Asheville is indeed a sub-adult Trumpeter Swan. Photos have been uploaded to the Carolina Bird Club website: <>

Thanks to Doug Johnston, Clifton Avery, John Koon and Tom Bush for getting photos that clinched the ID. It's a tough call, but the "V" shape of the white above the bill is conclusive, Compare this to the U shaped or flat shape on the Tundra Swan.
See Sibley's information for more details: nd-tundra-swans/<>

A few photos are also attached

Directions: Go to Ledges Whitewater River Park on the French Broad River (Alexander) <>
Continue downstream for half a mile and park in the large pull- off. The swan was in the river (far side) near this pull-off around 4:30 PM today. Hope it's in the same place tomorrow.
As far as I know, this may be a first record for Western North Carolina.

Simon RB Thompson
Ventures Birding Tours
Asheville, North Carolina
Check out our 2017 birding & nature tours - International<>, USA & Canada<>, and WNC day trips<>
Like us on Facebook at <>

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