geese feeding in a field with geese

Snow geese graze with Canada cousins at Zylstra Lake | Val Veirs

Great day for counting birds! | Ross Lockwood

The morning of Friday, January 21—the day of the 2022 swan count in San Juan County—dawned in a thick blanket of fog. Or, as some optimists put it, outdoor conditions were “highly atmospheric.” In conjunction with the official tabulation of Cygnus buccinator, we held our second annual Swan Count Photo Contest. The photo at right was volunteer Ross Lockwood’s tongue-in-cheek contest submission, capturing the morning view at Sportsman Lake on San Juan Island. “Please rest assured,” he wrote, “that I did wait for the fog to lift before actually counting. 🙂”

As the fog cleared, many of the white shapes that gradually emerged were indeed trumpeter swans. All told, 33 volunteers monitored 55 locations on six different islands. They counted 65 swans (62 adults, 3 juveniles).

Update: See the winner of our photo contest and more detailed results here.

Sign up for the 2023 Swan Count here.