For years I've been wanting to drive to Magness Lake which is near Heber Springs, Arkansas. I always put it off. It's either too cold or the weather is bad during the three months of winter that I need to go. You see, each winter there is a most unusual occurrence at Magness Lake. Trumpeter swans arrive from the north and winter on this small bow-shaped lake. What is so unusual about that, you ask. We are The Natural State after all. Normally trumpeter swans live in the Midwest, Alaska, and even Wyoming, but never as far south as Arkansas. In 1990 three swans showed up at the lake, seemed to like it, and returned each year bringing their extended family. What began as a small group on one lake, now numbers about 500 who winter on several Arkansas lakes.
Did I see 500? NO! 100? NO! 50? NO! Don't laugh but I waited too late in the season to go and there were only three left on the lake. I didn't do enough research and most of them had already migrated north. I was pretty disappointed that the lake wasn't covered with swans. Thank goodness for those three! I would have been VERY disappointed to travel that distance and see none.
Trumpeter swans are massive, the largest waterfowl species native to North America. They weigh about thirty pounds with up to an eight-foot wingspan. The adult birds are solid white, except for their beaks and feet. The younger ones are gray in color.
The whole time I was there dad kept a vigilant watch over the young one and the mother. I wondered if dad was waiting until the younger one was a little stronger before heading north.
Mom and youngster spent most of their time feeding, but not dad. I only saw him duck below the water one time for a bite too eat!
I kind of felt sorry for the other waterfowl on the lake. There were hundreds of them, but they just didn't get the attention of the swans. For one thing, they were small and stayed a little further out. I don't know much about water fowl, but I believe these are ring-necked ducks.
I spent quite a bit of time there; watching the swans and taking way too many photos that I now have to sort through! Although it was very windy and cold, it was peaceful. Honestly, what could be more peaceful than watching graceful waterfowl on a beautiful lake. I have made a note to myself on my calendar to go see the swans in November, December or January, not February. I want to see a lake full of them next time.