I went to Monticello with Steve and Jessie Van Kekerix to photograph the Trumpeter Swans. The Mississippi River remains open due to the outflow of the upstream nuclear power plant.
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Sheila, the swan lady, has been feeding swans, geese and mallards for years in front of her house on the banks of the Mississippi.
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We arrived just after sunrise and the temperature was -17. A steady stream of fog was rising from the open water almost hiding the hundreds of swans that were on the river.
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It was pretty quiet early in the morning but by 11:00 am when Sheila came out to deliver the cracked corn to her pets the sounds were deafening. Sounds from cackling geese, quacking mallards and trumpeting swans filled the air.
Trumpeter Swans are very large birds. Canadian geese are big but next to the swans they appear small.
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Only a few people were watching the swans that day since the temperature never got above zero. Steve and I took turns warming up in the car and reading to Jessie. At three years old she didn’t want to photograph the swans for very long. She loved seeing them and took this photo of the hundreds of swans gathering in front of Sheila’s.
One of the hundreds of mallards feeding on Sheila's cracked corn.