We visited Lasalle Park in Burlington on the weekend and watched many water birds on Lake Ontario as they paired off for the mating season. The Trumpeter Swans were very noisy and their honking sounded like rush hour in New York City. Many swans were "dancing" with their partners, bobbing their heads up and down in perfect synchronization as they swam in the water. They would fly up into the air and land again in another spot, starting the same routine again.
The mating pairs will soon be flying to northern Ontario to breed but many of the younger birds will remain in this bay for the summer. Trumpeter Swans are elegant, beautiful birds and the large yellow tags do nothing for their looks. Volunteers arrived in the early afternoon to do the daily count of the flock and the tags provide valuable information about their migration patterns.
This handsome pair stood together on the beach. The closeup below shows which bird is the cob (♂) and which is the pen (♀). "Ladies left" is the rule for banding and the males are banded on the right leg. I don't know of any other way for a casual observer to determine the sex of these swans.
The swans were not the only birds who had paired up.
The Ring-billed Gulls were plentiful and made almost as much noise as the swans. Most of our winter gulls have moved on and these common birds along with the Herring Gulls accounted for the majority of the seagulls on the bay.
These Black Ducks paddled around the docks with pairs of diving ducks and Mallards.
Just after we left the park, a group of about fifty Tundra Swans landed for a rest. I have never seen these birds and they do not stay around for long on their migration route. It is impossible to predict where they will be at a particular time. But that is the fun of birding. You can be certain you will not find everything you are looking for, but you can be just as certain that you will see something you did not expect.