Friday, December 12, 2008

A Swan at Lake Merritt

I've never seen a real-life swan until this year at "The Lake". They are HUGE, bigger than geese. According to my copy of The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Western Region this is a mute swan:

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), an introduced species and a tame pond bird, is smaller [than a Trumpeter Swan] with a black knob at the base of its orange bill. Mute Swans hold their necks in a graceful curve with bill pointing down.

It swam right up to me probably thinking my camera was something tasty I was going to offer it to eat. I don't know what it is doing at the lake because apparently we are too far south of the normal range.

Many people don't know that Oakland's Lake Merritt was the first wildlife refuge to be established in North America (proposed 1869, instituted 1870).


View more photos here at flickr.


  1. Hi Bondgurl. I found your blog while reading "Hiker Hell". You have some nice photos and seem to go on lots of interesting hikes. I'd like to hike more but seem to only go on one or two big hikes a year.

  2. Thanks Homer! Yes sometimes it's hard to get out there, but I've chosen to make it a priority to get out there weekly. The holidays have kind of thrown a monkey wrench into that, but soon they will be over and back to hiking weekly!