A trumpeter swan lands at the nest as its mate moves off to feed at Potter Marsh in Anchorage on Saturday May 2, 2020. This is the first pair of swans to nest at Potter Marsh in the memory of Anchorage Coastal Refuge managers and local birders. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)

The crown jewel of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, Potter Marsh, has new summer residents. A pair of trumpeter swans are calling the marsh home this summer.

For years, trumpeter and tundra swans have stopped at the South Anchorage marsh in the spring to refuel on their way to other nesting sites. The swans would stop again in the fall on their way south for the winter, with cygnets that matched the adults for size.

That changed In 2019 when a pair of trumpeters spent the summer at the marsh. This year probably the same pair is back. They built a nest mound and hatched five cygnets.

“I’ve been managing for twenty years now and haven’t seen swans nest at the marsh,” said Joe Meehan, special areas program coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Meehan thinks they are probably young swans finding their first nesting area. W. Keys, president of the local chapter of the Audubon Society, said in a text message, “I checked with a couple of the big guys, and no one remembers swans nesting at Potter Marsh before.”

One of a pair of nesting trumpeter swans drives geese away from its nesting area at Potter Marsh on May 2. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
One of a pair of nesting trumpeter swans swoops in for a landing at Potter Marsh on May 16, 2020. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)


One of a pair of nesting trumpeter swans feeds in Potter Marsh as traffic moves along the Seward Highway May 9, 2020. Mount Susitna rises in the background. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
A trumpeter swan and five recently-hatched cygnets feed at Potter Marsh on June 14, 2020. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
A trumpeter swan preens while surrounded by five recently-hatched cygnets at Potter Marsh June 14, 2020. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
A trumpeter swan beats its wings while two of the five recently-hatched cygnets feed at Potter Marsh, June 14, 2020. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
A pair of trumpeter swans and their five recently-hatched cygnets feed at Potter Marsh on June 14, 2020. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
A pair of trumpeter swans and their five recently-hatched cygnets feed at Potter Marsh, June 14, 2020. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
A pair of trumpeter swans and their five recently-hatched cygnets feed at Potter Marsh as the sun sets in Anchorage on June 14, 2020. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)

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