Today I did something I have never done before. I went birding by myself. Just before dusk, I grabbed my binoculars and a bird guide, then bundled up the baby and loaded him and the dog into the car. We headed for Croton Point, a park close to where I live in New York’s Hudson Valley. There, I scanned the river for ducks, peered up under the pines in hopes of finding a Long-Eared Owl, and drove right past a “Do Not Enter” sign in an effort to get a little closer to the water. I thought some waterfowl might be hiding in the cove. Alas, nothing.
Then I drove over toward the Croton train station, where a little inlet is a popular winter hangout for Bald Eagles. Why? Apparently because waterfowl like to cruise the waters below their favorite treetop perch. What did I find? Something better than I could have expected. A Tundra Swan. How did I know it’s a Tundra Swan? Because these cold-weather birds have a black bill, instead of an orange one like the mute swan. And this bird’s bill was black as night.