Birding-wise, the highlight of my recent trip to Santa Rosa had to be the two Mute Swans that elegantly paddled towards the boat launch on Lake Ralphine where I stood.
Swans do overwinter in the Puget Sound area, but you seldom see them in pairs and, more importantly, they maintain their distance. This pair had obviously grown accustomed to crowds of people and were largely indifferent to me.
In fact, they swam so close to the boat launch where I stood that I had to constantly back up to keep them in the picture frame.
They were harder to find on my second visit and the lighting was even more challenging as they were in a heavily shaded area at first, but I ended up getting just as close and managed to get some different shots.
I liked this high-contrast, nearly black and white shot almost as much as I do this profile in the same light.
I even managed to get this shot for those who prefer their Swans on the more traditional blue water.
I was thrilled to get these shots, but disappointed to read online that Mute Swans are considered an invasive species by many environmental groups, some even suggesting their numbers be reduced in an attempt to restore native species to their traditional numbers. I suspect some Native Americans would feel the same about non-natives, but it seems like an awfully beautiful species to eradicate, and not too different from the native species.