I stopped off at Pungo Lake recently to see the great Tundra Swans, Snow Geese and other waterfowl that winter in the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge this time of the year. After being routed all over the region due to bridge repairs and replacements, including having Google maps route me along what I believe was a service road (unpaved and nearly required 4WD) through agricultural fields, I arrived at the refuge just after sunrise.
No swans or geese were in the fields and I was a little late for the bears that can often be seen leaving the fields at first light. The swans and geese were still on Pungo Lake and the nearby impoundments. While many photographers focus on the fields and wait for the swans and geese to leave the lake, I focused my attention on the more than 1,000 swans that were in one of the impoundments.
The music of swans was all around. They slept, preened, fed, bathed, and called to their neighbors. The gray youngsters were scattered about, some sticking close to adults that were likely parents. Some chased each each other, grabbing wings and tails with their coal, black bills, and others gathered together and displayed and vocalized without aggression.
It was wonderful morning with these magnificent swans.