Monitoring Beaver Pond, ID

This weekend (June 14-15) The Trumpeter Swan Society Interns, Annie and Bill, headed up near the Island Park area of southeastern Idaho to check on a potential swan nesting site.  The site is on Beaver Pond in the Targhee National Forest, a pond secluded by a berm created from an old lava flow.  We arrived at the site and quietly hiked up the old basalt mound, hiding behind as many trees as possible to conceal ourselves (while still keeping an eye out for any roaming grizzlies).  We reached the outermost rim of trees around the pond and did a quick scan with our binoculars; nothing.  We took out our spotting scope, set up our tripod, and took another scan from between a few nearby bushes.  Still nothing.  We waited for the better part of a half hour but saw no sign of any Trumpeter Swans or their nest.  The pond itself was covered almost entirely in lily pads and pondlilies.  We have since learned from Greater Yellowstone Coordinator, Ruth Shea, that swans are sometimes capable of concealing themselves, necks included, completely underneath this underwater vegetation and will hide themselves until the perceived threat (in this case, The Trumpeter Swan Society Interns) has left their nesting area.  This pond has had a newly established pair for a few years now and has been managed to encourage nesting.  The pair did breed and nest on Beaver Pond during the 2013 season.  Another visit or perhaps an aerial survey will help us determine whether or not this pair has in fact not returned to nest this year.  For now there are no recorded nesting swans on Beaver Pond for the 2014 breeding season.  To be continued!

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