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Swan 888 (updated: 06-10-2003)
The swan's location diary is located below the map.
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May 26, - June 3, 2003: North Slope of Alaska Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The swan has traveled another 500 miles to return to the North Slope where she spent the summer of 2002. It appears as though she will nest here again this year. This area is a major breeding area for waterfowl. It is also known as an oil producing area and is where the Alaska pipeline originates. This swan has traveled the farthest west of any swans marked in the Atlantic Flyway Eastern Tundra Swan Project.

May 18, 2003 - May 22, 2003: Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories. Similar to last year, this bird has stopped in the Mackenzie River. This will most likely be her last stop before crossing the Richardson Mountains and the Great Divide if she is going to return to the North Slope of Alaska where she nested last year.

May 13, 2003: Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories. She has continued north to Great Slave Lake. From here she will follow the Mackenzie River north. Great Slave Lake is the origin of the Mackenzie River and is one of the largest lakes in northern Canada. She passed through this area last year, as have other swans that we marked during the past two years.

May 5, 2003: Baril Lake, Alberta near Lake Claire. After traveling nearly 500 miles, the swan has stopped in the northeast corner of Alberta. She stopped in this area on her spring migration last year around May 14, 2002. The timing of her migration appears to be slightly ahead of her pace from last year.

April 30, 2003: Star City, Saskatchewan. She is now in central Saskatchewan about 240 miles from her last location. She appears to be on a route similar to the one she took last year up to the western arctic.

April 26, 2003: Southwest Manitoba. The swan is on the fringe the Prairie Pothole Region near Dauphin Lake. This area is a transition zone between the Prairie Pothole Region (agriculture and small wetlands) and the boreal forest (coniferous forest and large lakes).

April 9 - April 22, 2003: Eastern North Dakota. The swan is reaching the midway point on its migration back to its breeding grounds in the artic. She will stage for a week or two in the Prairie Pothole Region before shifting her migration to the north. The Prairie Pothole Region is most noted as a breeding waterfowl area, but is also important as a staging area. During migration, swans consume a diet that includes vegetation (and small grains) that is high in energy content, and invertebrate foods (high in protein) that are very important in egg production. The rich wetlands of the Prairie Pothole Region are very productive during the springtime.

April 5, 2003: South-Central Minnesota. The swan is continuing westward through southern Minnesota heading for the Prairie Pothole Region.

March 27 - March 31, 2003: Minnesota-Wisconsin border. She has traveled west from the Great Lakes and stopped in the Mississippi River Valley near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. If she follows the path of other swans we've monitored, she should continue west toward the Red River Valley along the Dakota-Minnesota border.

March 19, 2003: Lake Erie near Harrow, Ontario. Lake Erie is one of the major stopover areas for swans in the Atlantic Flyway. It is the first major staging areas after leaving their wintering quarters. Swans make their way gradually across the Great Lakes Region feeding on aquatic vegetation and agricultural grains while waiting for winter weather to clear further north.

March 14, 2003: Pymatuning, Pennsylvania. The swan completed another 160 miles on its journey back north stopping near Pymatuning in northwestern Pennsylvania, just south of Lake Erie. Pymatuning is well known for the large numbers of Canada geese and other waterfowl that winter here or pass through during migration. A large reservoir (Pymatuning Reservoir) and surrounding agricultural areas provide important habitats for birds passing through this region.

March 10, 2003:  Juniata River near Huntington, Pennsylvania. After traveling 300 miles north, the swan made a stop in central Pennsylvania on Raystown Lake, a large Reservoir on the Juniata River. We have had other swans make brief stops in this area in the past.

March 6, 2003:  Lake Drummond, Virginia. Lake Drummond is situated in the middle of Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Virginia.  Many swans use this large lake as a roosting area at night and they often feed in agricultural fields in the surrounding area.  Lake Drummond is also used as a roosting area by snow geese and a variety of duck species.  The lake is only a short 50-mile flight north of where the swan wintered on Phelps Lake.

December 2, 2002 – March 1, 2003:  Phelps Lake, North Carolina.  The swan spent most of the winter in North Carolina near Lake Phelps, which is located between Albemarle and Pamilco Sounds. This low-lying area near the coast has a good mix of crop fields and open water areas for feeding and roosting.  The area winters large numbers of waterfowl including a large portion of the Atlantic Flyway tundra swan population. There are several National Wildlife Refuges in this portion of North Carolina including Lake Mattamuskeet and Pungo refuges.  This year’s cold weather and ice conditions may have sent some swans farther south than last year.  It will be interesting to see if this bird will stop during its spring migration at Pope’s Creek, Virginia where it was banded last year.

September 24- October 11, 2002: South Saskatchewan River near Swift Current Saskatchewan. The swan moved a long way, nearly 1,600 miles, from her last stop on the Mackenzie River Delta to her current location in the South Saskatchewan River Valley. She is about 120 miles north of the Saskatchewan-Montana border and is further west than she was on her spring migration north. This area of the Prairie Pothole Region is a mixture of small wetlands and small grain agriculture fields. This area should provide the food resources needed for her (and her family group) to continue their long migration back to Virginia.

September 7 - 16, 2002: MacKenzie River Delta, Yukon Territory Canada. She moved 400 miles southeast to the MacKenzie River Delta in Yukon Territory, Canada. She stopped in this area back in May on her migration north to Alaska. Swan #33887 is also presently in the MacKenzie River area only about 80 miles to the northeast of this swan.

June 12 - September 3, 2002: North Shore of Alaska. She stayed in the Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska all summer, a good sign that she nested and is probably raising a brood. She is the first of our radioed swans to start moving south, perhaps because she was the furthest away.

May 31 – June 12: North Shore of Alaska. Rather than staying on the MacKenzie River Delta, this swan has moved 450 miles further west to the Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska. This area is also a major breeding area for waterfowl. In addition, it is well known as a big oil producing area and is where the Alaska pipeline originates. This swan has probably reached the end of its migration and will probably stay and nest in this location.

May 26, 2002: Northwest Territories. The next good location we obtained on this swan is 950 miles further northwest on the MacKenzie River Delta in arctic Canada. She is located just east of Fort McPherson. The MacKenzie River Delta is a major breeding area for swans, other waterfowl including ducks and geese, and a number of shorebird species.

May 14-18, 2002: Northeastern Alberta. Between May 9 and May 14 she moved 450 miles and is now located on the west end of Lake Athabasca, near Fort Chipewyan and Wood Buffalo National Park. (Swan #33887 is following a route similar to this bird and stopped here on Lake Athabasca on May 23, shortly after this birds moved out.)

May 1-9: Central Saskatchewan. She moved another 150 miles northwest and is now located near the town of Shellbrook in Central Saskatchewan. Shellbrook is at the northern end of the Prairie Pothole Region and where the Aspen Parkland Region begins. This area has larger, more permanent water bodies and fewer temporary wetlands. Small grain agriculture is still predominant on the landscape, however, shrub and forest areas are also present.

April 22-26, 2002: Eastern Saskatchewan. Between April 18 and April 26 she made a couple short moves from southern Manitoba into southeastern Saskatchewan. She is now located about 200 miles northwest of Lake Manitoba, just east of the Quill Lakes in Saskatchewan.

April 18, 2002: Lake Manitoba, Manitoba. She moved 110 miles northwest and stopped briefly at the southern end of Lake Manitoba, not far from Delta Marsh, an area well known for its waterfowling tradition. Another radioed swan (#33887) was in this area but moved out just a couple days ago.

April 13, 2002: Canadian Border. She has moved north 200 miles and is located at the junction of the North Dakota–Minnesota-Canada border near Pembina, North Dakota.

March 23 - April 9, 2002: Western Minnesota. The swan has moved another 775 miles to the west and stopped in the eastern portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. The swan is located near the Swan and Chippewa Rivers near the North Dakota-Minnesota border. This area lies in the eastern Red River drainage where large numbers of swans stop on the northward migration. This area is not only important as a migration stopover, but is also a critical breeding area for many species of waterfowl.

February 26 - March 6, 2002: Lake Erie, Ontario. The swan left its winter quarters in Virginia sometime between February 22-26 and moved 350 miles northwest to the area around Long Point, Ontario, on the north side of Lake Erie. The marshes around Long Point are a traditional and important stopover areas for swans and other waterfowl. Birds will generally spend a week or two here feeding heavily to rebuild nutrient reserves for the next leg of the migration. A number of our satellite radioed swans (#33892, 22894), and several from other states cooperating in this study, have stopped here this year.

February 15 - 22: Potomac River, Virginia. The swan has remained in the Popes Creek area near the place it was captured, feeding in shallow tidal-water flats and roosting on the open water.

February 15, 2002: Popes Creek, Virginia. This swan was caught near George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County. The creek is wide and shallow, and swans can tip-up to feed in its extensive mud flats. Over 600 tundra swans were using this small inlet off the Potomac River this winter, including several neck-collared swans that we captured last year on the Rappahannock River. We put satellite radios on three other swans that used Popes creek this winter (#33892, 33893, 33894 - see below). It will be interesting to see if they go to the same area, or to different areas, to breed.

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