Eric Marshall Memorial Bursary Fund

I am happy to tell you about another way to help children experience nature.

Thanks to Jim Wisnia for writing about this:

The Eric Marshall Memorial Bursary Fund will make bursaries available for children to attend nature and science day camps at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre as noted in Amy Clinton-Baker’s article in the May-June edition of the Valley Naturalist.  Eric was enthusiastic about volunteering to share his knowledge and support at these day camps as well as class visits to the Nature Centre.  By continuing to contribute to the Eric Marshall Memorial Bursary Fund we can ensure that finance is not a barrier to children and youths wishing to participate in these nature education programs in the future.

Donations can be made online through Canada Helps <>, sending an etransfer to or by mailing a cheque to CVNS, 55 Station St., Duncan, BC, V9L 1M2.  Please include a comment that the donation is for the Eric Marshall Bursary Fund.

April 27th Willie’s Wildflower photos

Thank you Willie Harvie for your generosity in sharing these photos.  Willie uses a zoom lens to photograph flowers as well as birds.  This allows her to get shots without going off the trail – something important for us to remember.  At this time in the Cowichan Valley you can find these beauties:  Blue Camas; Chocolate Lily (with Shooting stars in the background) and Deltoid Balsamroot.

Migrating shorebirds

Now is the time to watch for migrating shorebirds.  Here is a Greater Yellowlegs photographed yesterday by Wilma Harvie at Cowichan Bay.  You might find one if you walk along Dock Road or at the end of the Ducks Unlimited trail. Gail


April 13 2021 Spring has sprung

April 13, 2021  by Gail

After a long hiatus, our website blog is up and running again!

This is my first attempt!  I will try to keep it going with nature news from around the valley.  Stay tuned!

The weather finally feels like spring. Here are some of the beautiful wildflowers that can be seen around the valley.  Photos are by Wilma Harvie

Shooting Star Dodecatheon hendersonii ; Chocolate Lily Fritillaria affinis;

Fawn Lily Erythronium oreganum   

Tribute for Kenneth Eric Marshall

October 1930 – 17 December 2020

Eric was born Oct 1930 in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England. He moved to Blackpool where he completed high school. He graduated from King’s College, London, with a degree in marine zoology. Following a compulsory two years National Service he worked as a librarian for Freshwater Biological Association on Windermere in the English Lake District.

Eric married Dorothy in 1958. He emigrated to Winnipeg with Dorothy and daughters, Lynn and Karina, to take the position of Information Scientist at the Freshwater Institute on the campus of U of M. Eric built up what was reputed to be the best marine science library in N. America. Son Ken was born in 1969.

Eric and Dorothy retired to Cowichan Bay in 1996. Eric enjoyed volunteering with many organizations especially the Cowichan Valley Naturalists Society. Eric died 17 December 2020, from complications after surgery.

Eric will be lovingly remembered by Dorothy, Lynn, Karina (Don), Ken (Angela) and his grandson Carter.

Kenneth Eric Marshall Obituary


John William Scull – An Obituary

May 10, 1943  July 24, 2020

Born a 4th generation Californian and growing up in Beverly Hills, John used to jokingly describe himself as consistently downwardly mobile but no less happy for it.

His youthful interests became lifelong pursuits. He was drawn to science, particularly astronomy, reading, chess, music, sailing, and camping. He spent time working with his hands and exploring philosophy with his grandparents. It was also the beginnings of an enduring fascination with adventure and the South Pacific that began by sounding out the longest word he could find on the map on the wall  Kapingamarangi  which was eye-level for him at just the right age.

The following years included studying and working in engineering and then experimental psychology with rats, pigeons and turtles in California, Toronto, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Victoria. Along the way, he and his first partner Jeri Covay built a family, became deeply involved in the politics of social and environmental justice, travelled Europe and gathered more lifelong friends. His daughter Kathy was born in Toronto and Charley followed three years later in Brighton.

During his brief stint in Mexico City he miraculously found himself living next door to his best friend from childhood, Juan Bueno. They have been close friends ever since. Juan describes 12 year old John as a tall, lanky carefree kid with a gift for original thinking.

In 1973, his best friend Don Fernandez arranged for him to come to Vancouver Island on a six-week contract at Cedar Lodge, a school for children with learning disabilities. That contract turned into 10+ years and became a source of many more lifelong friendships. He had fallen in love with the Island, exploring it through sailing, camping, and tramping through the woods. It has been his chosen home ever since.

John later went into private practice, worked for Mental Health Centres on the Island and taught psychology at Vancouver Island University. He made time for travel, adventure and deep intercultural learnings with his spouse, Linda Hill; first to Micronesia (including a side trip to Kapingamarangi, the Island of his childhood imagination), and then to the Solomon Islands as CUSO volunteers.

These experiences became endless sources of stories, inspiration and even more friends. But home beckoned and he always came back to the Cowichan Valley, where he and Linda threw themselves into the issues that mattered most to them: diversity, inclusion, community, conservation, eco-psychology and the Earth Charter.

John had a deep sense of wonder with the natural world and an endless curiosity. He took great joy in learning and sharing his wonder with others, (especially his grandchildren) through teaching and mentorship. He appreciated the small and beautiful things in life; word-play, the smiles that appeared when he pulled out one of his tiny ukuleles and the pleasure of biting into a Pirate cookie, with the wind at your back as you’re headed for harbour. His ever-growing family of choice was also a constant source of delight.

John always thought of himself as an exceptionally fortunate man for the life he lived. He spent his final months laughing, joking, and sharing stories throughout his adventure with cancer. He was filled with gratitude that he had a chance to connect with so many of the people he really loved.

As John said, “Family, friends and community are the best medicine”. On July 24, as dawn broke and the finches began to sing, it was time for John to embark on his next journey. He was surrounded by his children, grandchildren and spouse, looking out onto Mount Prevost. His was a life well-lived. He left it a fortunate man and all of us a fortunate family.

John was very proud of his role as a founder of the Cowichan Land Trust. He saw the protection of natural areas as a gift to future generations. You are invited to make a contribution to CLT in lieu of flowers at

Online condolences may be offered at

Friends and community groups are invited to celebrate his life through your own informal gatherings and waffle parties. If you let us know your plans via Sands, we can participate virtually, in person, or in spirit.

Cowichan Valley Citizen, July 24, 2020

Honouring John Scull – April 21, 2020

John at Low Tide Day 2019
Low Tide Day
Monthly Shorebird Count, Feb. 2013
Estuary Nature Centre, Dec. 2012

John Scull came to the Cowichan Valley in the early 70’s and has been working ever since to make it a better place for all of its inhabitants.

John helped resurrect the Naturalists Club in 1983 along with Syd Watts, Sheila Sanders and Keith Muir. He managed our publicity for many years and continues to serve on the board.  With his partner Linda he started the Young Naturalists (now Nature Kids) in 2001 and continues to advise them to the present day. With Bill Austin he initiated the annual May Low-Tide Day in Cowichan Bay in 1999. Last year, during the 20th anniversary, John showed up with the other “Muddy Buddies” to play his ukulele. They often play at the annual winter solstice celebration and other special events.

He was a founding member of the Cowichan Community Land Trust which began as a CVNS committee some 30 years ago. John also helped develop the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre where he was a regular volunteer with his grand-daughter Nakita. He began monthly water-bird counts at the Nature Centre in 2011 as a way of involving the public in being citizen scientists. In 2007, John set up and continues to maintain the Nature Cowichan Website, which gathers Somenos Marsh, the Land Trust, the Naturalists, Young Naturalists (now Nature Kids) and the Estuary Center under one umbrella. As Facebook and other social media evolved John kept pace.

John and Linda’s efforts to create a better world can be seen at all levels. As individuals they have solar panels and a clothes-line, an electric car and bicycles. In the community, his participation in Mental Health, education of children with learning disabilities, the Arcadian Day Care, Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University), Providence Farm and Social Planning Cowichan augmented activity on behalf of all the non-human inhabitants.  On the larger scale John has advocated the Earth Charter and Project Drawdown among many other things.

Whether leading nature walks or recognizing a need and just quietly setting up a group to address it, we are grateful to John, not only for what he has done, but for what he has inspired in others. In his own words:

“The messages from Drawdown and COVID  19 are the same:  If we all work together and care for each other, there is no limit to what human ingenuity can accomplish. I hope you all will carry on working and playing together to build a world that works for all living beings: an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet”


Swan, Goose & Raptor count March 11th 2020

It takes a lot of determination and perseverance to be a swan counter because sometimes we go and we don’t see much at all and then all of a sudden some birds pop up and all are happy. It was a bit like that today as we went to many locations and found the cupboard was bare. 8 counters set out from the dog park and once again this week things were not good for the first few stops. We did see a few Swallows flying at Somenos and a few hardy Robins picking for worms. Somenos Lake had a good bunch of Geese but that was it. Zan on her way in today had counted the swans at Mt.Sicker Road so we did not cross the hwy and turned down and along to Westholme Road. We looked and looked but failed to find anything good. We tried to turn a couple of young Bald Eagles into Goldens but failed miserably. Even the American Kestrels failed to show them selves today so all we ended up with for the day were about the same number as last week Bald Eagles and a very low 5 Red-tailed Hawks, pretty poor I would say. Herd Road fields were covered in ducks and geese which brightened our day a bit. Having said bright, yes it was another sunny Wednesday, but that wind cut through our feathers and some who had molted into summer plumage felt that sharp chill. We soon found ourselves at A&W for lunch where french fries and cookies were tempted to us all, even got some smarties as well. I try all week to cut back on food and then come Wednesday all those ounces I had lost come rushing back on again.
This week the Trumpeter Swan numbers took a dive by about 100 birds as the migration starts; we did find a nice bunch of immatures that were starting to turn color along Hwy 18 and they were dully photographed by all as you will see. Funny that some of our previous years best spots for swans have seen a complete absence of birds, it makes one wonder what could possibly be missing from these fields this year or is that other fields have better fodder, I guess we will never know. Bench Road once again had the largest gathering and also along Koksilah Road east.
Barry on his pre-count walk found some goodies including a nice Lincoln’s Sparrow and a group of Starling checking out one of the swallow boxes. I don’t think they will all fit in there..
Just a couple of Deer and one dead Gray Squirrel were all the animals today; we did try to revive the Squirrel with a little tap from my boot but it was a gonner, we did offer it up to Barry for a stew but he declined. We did see a lot of Skunk Cabbage today and lot’s of other blooms coming on.
On our trip around our route we have around 10 or more eagle nests some of these have birds warming eggs already.
I guess I should mention the chocolate near the end, Zan always seems to have a bar or two to share, guess that’s why she carries all those bags. More inches were added to the waistline.
We are now on the home stretch with just two more counts to go for the season, we will miss our little gatherings, but spring is upon us, so much is to be seen and appreciated.
Lot’s of pics today, so hold on to your horses as they all load up.
Trumpeter Swans by us all
Brewers Blackbirds by Derrick Marven
I’m behind you by Derrick Marven
Starlings buying a new home by Barry Hetschko
Northern Shrike by Barry Hetschko
Heron Meadow by Barry Hetschko
Lincoln’s Sparrow by Barry Hetschko
female Red-winged Blackbird by Zan Stenhouse
Golden-crowned Sparrow by Zan Stenhouse
Canada Goose pair by Zan Stenhouse and Denny Wagg
Eagle Nest by Zan Stenhouse
Heron by Denny Wagg

Great Blue Heron
Eagle’s nest
Canada geese
Trumpeter swans
Trumpeter swans
Lincoln sparrow
Northern shrike
Trumpeter swans
Golden-crowned sparrow
Female red-winged blackbird
I’m behind you
Trumpeter swans
Heron meadow
Brewer’s blackbird



Swan, Goose & Raptor count Mar.4th 2020

Red-tailed Hawk
Bald Eagle
American Kestrel with Kermit
Lesser Scaup
Trumpeter swans – Tundra on far left
Great Blue Heron
It was a strange old day with most things going down and the sun going up once more; well it was a Wednesday so what do you expect. 9 birders set out from the dog park and for the second time ever I had my son along for the day. Those young eyes paid dividends as he spotted a few nice birds along the way and his driving was not bad either. We had to squash 3 girls into the back of his 4×4 and getting up into the vehicle did pose a few problems, but with a little sliding and pushing once in, every thing was fine.
Swan numbers went down a little this week as I am sure the early starters headed out for the fields further north. Geese numbers took a tumble again, I just wonder where they all keep going, some geese have already started to pair up and will be nesting very soon. Immature Bald Eagle numbers went down as more and more get chased away by adults from the breeding areas and more than likely some are heading up island for the Herring spawn.
4 American Kestrel again this week with Zan spotting two at the rest stop at hwy. 18 on her way in. One Kestrel toyed with the photographers on Herd Road as it had caught a frog and kept moving away every time we got close, but that’s why we got the long lenses for these occasions.
A new species was recorded this week and I’m not sure the exact name of the bird, it sounded like Shut-that Window or something like that. The girls in the back called it out so many times but I was unable to spot one from the front.  I have checked the AOU checklist but can’t seem to find a match, I do know that Gary likes his fresh air and likes to drive with his elbow out the window. The wind was playing hell with my hearing aid, Not sure what I was hearing.
A day totally different from last week with just one Northern Shrike and that was seen on the second to last stop. This week we saw plenty of California Quail and a few more sparrows and Junco’s.
Jim’s Pond had some nice Lesser Scaup in the sun and a fly in Double-crested Cormorant which disappeared as soon as it landed. Cowichan Bay had a few remaining diving ducks and a few more Green-winged Teal had moved in. American Wigeon were in good number at several locations and I only saw 3 Ruddy Ducks at the Herd Road fields.
Things are starting to wind down and only three counts to go and if this weather persists more and more swans and geese will head out.
Just a short report this week as my honey do list is longer than the bird list and is going up as the birds go down. I am using my new laptop so please excuse any glaring wrong doings.
Not many photographs this week, we must try harder.
Photo Credits
Lesser Scaup by Zan Stenhouse
Kestrel with Kermit by Zan Stenhouse
Great Blue Heron on the hunt By Zan Stenhouse
Tundra Swan far left by Zan Stenhouse
Bald Eagle by Gary Marven
Red-tailed Hawk by Gary Marven

Swan, Goose & Raptor count Feb.19th 2020

One-eyed goose
Sheep & lambs
Mt Prevost & ravens
Trumpeter swans
More trumpeter swans
Pooping red-tailed hawk
American kestrel
Anna’s hummingbird

I sometimes look back and think why did I ever start counting birds, I know the data comes in very useful, but I was a regular bird watcher once and chased rarities all over the provinces like a mad thing. Today made me realize why I and others do it when you pull up on the side of the road and those big white Trumpeter Swans are sitting there calling and feeding and  glisten in the bright sunshine. I see those juveniles changing color knowing that these are the next generation getting ready to head north and all the time I know that once these magnificent birds were on the threshold of becoming extinct. That’s when it hits us as to why we go out on a Wednesday, wind, rain or shine to collect data so that these birds will never be subjected to the persecution that they once were.

Nine counters set out in three cars and just like last week it was tough going for the first few stops and with our famous scribe back behind me writing the data, we were soon getting some numbers; welcome back Dorothy. She had dumped her husband just so she could get re-acquainted with  Barry and I meanwhile Eric saw fit to dump all his passengers off at  lunch as he was missing his dear wife, so we had to let her go with him. We seemed to have lost the third car somewhere along Richards Trail; sorry about that but you must keep up; if we don’t hit A&W by noon the troops bellies start to rumble.

Today was another record setting day as the Trumpeter Swan numbers went up again and we nailed 500 spot  on for the day and added 5 Mute and 1 Tundra Swan. Hawk and Eagle numbers took a tumble and we had only 2 American Kestrel and a, very late in the day, Merlin sitting above my house as the lads dropped me off. Barry added a new one to his ever growing list of birds caught pooping, when a Red-tailed Hawk obliged on Tom Windsor Drive with a  nice looking flow before taking off, good job i had my window shut. While counting swans along Hwy. 18 we noticed a large kettle of birds over Mt. Prevost, most of which appeared to be Common Ravens, by the time I  got the camera on them they had glided off the back slope. This week saw our first Lambs of the year at Dougan’s; they were being closely watched over by the barn cat just in case any predator came along.

One reason our hawk numbers were down was we were missing our star spotters this week as Zan and Kurlene who were off today, Yes, I admit we missed them.

It appears everyone one of us were not paying attention when a immature Northern Harrier glided right in front of us down in Cowichan Bay, would have made a nice addition to our photo’s this week. One of the American Kestrels was sitting nicely on top of a hydro pole right where we park along Herd Road, but soon took off at  the sight of us, but luckily landed in a tree to pose for Barry

Our day came to an end in bright sunshine as we scanned over Cowichan Bay, Barry had reminded us that this time last year we were buried under a load of snow; well this is Vancouver Island and one never knows what your going to get from one year to the next, but we will take a day like today anytime.

Photo Credits
Anna’s Hummingbird by Denny Wagg
American Kestrel by Barry Hetschko
Tundra Swan by Barry Hetschko
pooping Red-tailed Hawk by Barry Hetschko
Trumpeter Swans by Derrick Marven
Mt. Prevost and Ravens by Derrick Marven
Lambs by Derrick Marven
One eyed Goose by Derrick Marven

Coastal Waterbird Count – 10th Feb. 2020

South side:

We had a wonderful turnout of 10 counters, some of whom loved the sunlight on the clouds behind Swuqus (Mount Prevost) but were less enamored of the icy wind blowing off the bay.  A flying beaver took off during the count, but the birds were not particularly disturbed by it, and there were lots of birds:

5 Mute Swan; 36 Trumpeter Swan; 189 Bufflehead;   9 Common Goldeneye;   1 Hooded Merganser ;   6 Horned Grebe;  1 Western Gull;  1 Thayer’s Gull;  8 Glaucous-winged Gull ; 24 gull sp.;   4 Double-crested Cormorant;  2 Northwestern Crow;

The intrepid observers were: Derek Gibson, Thomas George, Steve Mitchell, John Scull, Wilma Harvie, Eric Marshall, Gail Mitchell, Donna Zipse, Ken Bendle, Dorothy Marshall, a harbour seal that joined us for a while and cameo appearances by Christina Cutbill and Eve Savory.

North side:

On February 9, 2020, Kurlene Wenberg and Carol Hartwig observed the following 11 species of waterbirds as the light dimmed late in the afternoon:

8 Double-crested Cormorant; 4 Pelagic Cormorant; 11 Canada Geese; 87 Trumpeter Swan; 27 Mallard; 2 Greater Scaup; 2 White-winged Scoter; 24 Bufflehead; 33 Common Goldeneye; 4 Common Merganzer; 3 Dunlin; 10 Mew Gull; 4 Glaucous-winged Gull; 75 Gull sp.;

Jim and Lyn Wisnia enjoyed the calm, sunny Sunday afternoon.

They observed in the Verdier Point area:

1 Surf scoter; 28 Bufflehead; 15 Goldeneye; 7 Barrow’s goldeneye; 7 Red-breasted merganser; 9 Horned grebe; 2 Red-necked grebe; 2 Western grebe; 8 Mew gull; 10 Glaucous-winged gull; 15 Gull sp.; 1 Pacific loon; 1 Common loon; 3 Brandt’s cormorant; 1 Belted kingfisher; 1 Common raven.

In the Mill Bay area:

5 American wigeon; 10 Surf scoter; 14 Bufflehead; 8 Common goldeneye; 10 Barrow’s goldeneye; 2 Hooded merganser; 7 Common  merganser; 3 Red-breasted merganser; 2 Red-necked grebe; 1 Western grebe; 14 Glaucous-winged gull; 36 Gull sp.; 1 Common loon; 1 Brandt’s cormorant; 1 Pelagic cormorant; 1 Belted kingfisher; 3 Northwestern crow.


Swan, Goose & Raptor count February 5th 2020

Short-eared owl
Trumpeter swans
Trumpeter swan
Red-headed Trumpeter swans
Trumpeter swans in flight
Northern Shovellers
Ruddy ducks
Today was Bob’s Day  and I dedicate this weeks report to all the Bob’s that watch birds. This week we had our own Bob Nation along for the trip and my did he bring us luck, with a record count of swans for this season over 400 and 4 Tundra Swans to boot. 6  Snow Geese and over 1300 Canada Geese rounded out our count sheet. Once again this week Eric was in charge of keeping the tally as Dorothy can’t bring herself to come out in the rain, I am hoping that when the sun shines we will see her return, if not I will be requiring a doctors note.
6 dry counters left the dog park and we were soon counting hawks and eagles, this week also saw a record count for the season of 14 Red-tailed Hawks added to this was a drop in Bald Eagles, 2 American Kestrels, 2 Merlin and several Cooper’s Hawks and accipiter sp., we must start brushing up on our hawk identification as too many are going unresolved.
My day started with an omen at Quamichan Lake where a nice Ruddy Duck was close to the flooded car park, little did we know that we were going to find 5 more in the most unlikely spot of the Herd Road flooded fields.
We encountered a fair bit of flood damage this week around our route but none that would stop us from completing our count.
Strange sight up on Koksilah Road west where walking up this track in the farmers field was 6 female Deer all together in a herd, safety in numbers I guess or keeping tight to stay out of the way of marauding males.
123 Seals were counted out on the mini log boom of Cowichan Bay, been a while since I have seen this many out there, life must be good, can’t see that they are finding much to eat as the ducks were in very low numbers again. male and female Bald Eagles were perched together getting ready for the upcoming breeding season
Our biggest flock of swans this week and the group that held the Tundras was on Bench Road where 315 Trumpeter’s were counted among these were 49 immature our best count this season. I did get a report from one of our southern correspondents about a group of 120+ swans down on Cameron-Taggert on Tuesday, but they are out of our count route but are worth noting.
The best of the day was saved for the end of the count when  we found 3 Short-eared Owls all sitting up in low trees, Bob had worked his magic on this namesake day.
Photo Credits
Red-headed Trumpeter Swans by Barry Hetschko
Northern Shovellers by Barry Hetschko
Flying Swans by  Barry Hetschko

Ruddy Ducks by Barry Hetschko

Trumpeter Swans by Derrick Marven
Short-eared Owl by Derrick Marven
American Kestrels  by Zan Stenhouse

Swan, Goose & Raptor count Jan. 29, 2020

What a day we had 8 counters were subjected to early wet conditions to heat and sun by lunch, no real surprises although 7  Snow Geese on Dinsdale’s Farm were nice, these birds had been around for a few days. This year we have been having trouble finding swans in the north end of our route and today was no exception, not sure why the birds have left these areas.The majority of swans were on Bench Road where in excess of 200 were  seen. Immature birds are in low numbers this year which could mean a bad breeding season for them. With the birds being so far off in the fields it makes it hard for me to locate any Tundra Swans.

Surprise this week was when Eric at lunchtime produced a nice big box of cookies, we were not aware that he had hidden talents like cooky making, I have to say that they were on par with what our absent friend Dorothy makes, maybe a competition is in the making.
A group of Dunlin was spied by me a I scanned across the Cowichan Bay, never did relocate them to show the group. Duck numbers were once again low in the bay, this is of some concern, maybe all this rain is the cause.
As we headed down Cowichan  Bay Road a couple of Mute Swans were seen and we added a few more out in the bay. While scanning across to see if I could find a perched owl I spotted a funny looking lump close to the ground on a small stork, this I thought was the Short-eared Owl, but it turned out to be a female Northern Harrier. Eagle numbers were up with more immature this week, we also had a fly by Coopers Hawk, a American Kestrel and a Merlin.
As you are aware a lot of flooding has taken place with many fields under water, some very deep fields keeping many duck species away, so it was a surprise at the Herd Road flooded fields to see a  good gathering of Green-winged Teal, one of  the largest groups I have seen in a long time.
Photographs were in short supply this week as we found it hard to get close to most birds,one Red-tailed Hawk which sat very close to Westholme Road was a good example of our luck this week as Barry inched closer so I could rattle off some good shots a big box van roared passed us just as my camera got the lovely in focus, I managed a few tatty tail feathers on the right hand side of the frame as the bird vacated it’s close perch.
With the flooding on Tzouhalem Road we had to do a bit of juggling to get to some of the spots near the Cowichan River and when we got there all we could find was a Downy Woodpecker and a few duckies.
Our day was done and we were thankful for the afternoon sun, lot’s of people were out walking and we even saw one of our past counters Christina working the Dock Road, a very rare sight these days on our count.
Photo Credits
Mew Gulls and Thayers by Derrick Marven
Hooded Mergansers by Denny Wagg
Downy Woodpecker by Denny Wagg

More gulls
More gulls
Hooded mergansers
Hooded mergansers
Downy woodpecker

Swan, Goose & raptor count Jan. 23rd 2020

Northwesternn crow
Wet brewer’s blackbird
Trumpeter swans
More trumpeter swans
Bald eagle
Red-tailed hawk
Worm-eating gull
More trumpeter swans
More trumpeter swans
Wet day bird counting
I really don’t know what to say about this week, although snow was not an issue as last week, this week we needed Noah on our team as the heavens opened, Barry commented that he had never known a a Wednesday when it rained right through the whole count. As usual some members of our depleted team thought it was safer to stay in the vehicle while the more foolish of the team ventured out into the deluge. I mentioned our poor team numbers because what with broken wrist and flu like symptoms that had been passed down from some younger member and another team player running off at A&W we ended up with just 6 fool hardy people. One counter had come all the way from Ontario to join in the fun and to get away from those eastern weather systems, Hah little did she know what we had in store for her.
The Swans put on a brave face and numbers were just about level from our previous count on the 8th at just over 400 birds, Goose numbers went down a long way, their not stupid they know when to leave, no way were they getting their feet wet.
Raptor numbers took a bit of a hit with no Falcons and only one Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks fared well and so did Bald Eagles but they did look sad sitting in the trees looking sorry for themselves.
A handful of Deer were spotted and I was the lucky one to catch a glimpse of a River Otter in Cowichan Bay
We ran into a couple of road works on the way which made us late for lunch but there was no worry about rushing this week as Barry and Kurlene got us around with no trouble, such great drivers.
No dickie birds were spotted except for a few on St.Catherine’s coming into a feeder where we spotted both Golden and White-crowned Sparrows, a Spotted Towhee and a Song Sparrow. A group of California Quail had got themselves marooned on the wrong side of the Dock Road, they had their backs against the water and had to wait for the vehicles to pass to scuttle back across to the safety of the brambles.
As the day come to an end I sent Barry out into the rain to count the final few swans you see he had a hat and a brolly.
At the beginning of this rambling message i mentioned I didn’t know what to say about today, well I think the lovely picture taken by our good buddy Zan of a Brewer’s Blackbird just about sums it all up.
Until the sun returns.
Photo Credits
Swans x2 by Derrick Marven
Worm eating gull by Derrick Marven
Red-tailed Hawk by Zan Stenhouse
Bald Eagle by Zan Stenhouse
More Swans by Zan Stenhouse
Mum and Baby Trumpeter by Zan Stenhouse
One wet Brewer’s Blackbird by Zan Sttenhouse