2005 Winter Campout Review

Swans in the Fields, The Pinery

Easter weekend twenty of us gathered at The Pinery for the annual Macomb Audubon Winter Campout. It wasn't an easy task getting that far. Originally scheduled for two weeks earlier, the campout was delayed due to a broken water line at the park. Five of our members had to drop out, but three others were able to join us. The delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the Tundra Swans - the excuse we use for going north in March - began to arrive only a few days before we did.

The weekend began beautifully, with sunny skies and loads of ducks on the St. Clair River on the way. Three of us riding up together opted for the ferry and were rewarded with such lovelies as Greater Scaup, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and one lone Long-tailed Duck along the river. All were in breeding plumage, almost glowing in the sunlight.

Arriving at The Pinery, we discovered that the swans weren't in their usual spot at Old Thedford Bog. Instead they were way down a muddy washboard side road, gleaning in one of the corn fields. There were a good thousand of them posturing and honking in the fields in company with Canada Geese and Mallards, with Horned Larks tinkling and skittering all around. It was really a magical afternoon, and on a return visit just at dusk we were treated to the sight of the swans heading off toward the lake as a bright orange full moon rose to the east. Back at the meeting center they were flying over low enough that we could see their V formations in the moonlight.

The Orange Moon, The Pinery

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