Wednesday, 22 of May of 2019

Swan & Goose count Dec.6th 2017

Red-tailed hawk

Trumpter swans on Richard’s Trail

 

Fox sparrow

 

More swans, etc on Richard’s Trail

 

Spotted towhee

 

Elk & little buddy

 

More elk

Today was one of those wonderful birding days that we dream of, the sun shone brightly all day, the birds put on a great show and so did the beasts. Counting on a day like this was a joy, with the birds all being mostly easy to see.
6 birders left the dog park this morning and all had smiles on their faces from the get go. Some of the usual occupants of the Somenos Marsh were in attendance when Barry took his walk along the dike before meeting up with me, Northern Shrike, Red-tailed Hawk and a far off Peregrine Falcon and as the vehicles left and headed along Beverly Street a Merlin sailed over chasing another raptor which was unidentified. The usual group of Canada Geese were having kick around on the football pitch at the school and a few more were protesting at the golf driving range, wanting it left as grass and not another concrete jungle on floodplain.
Somenos Lake had a good number of Geese and a handful of ducks and a few far off Bald Eagles. As headed up the highway near Norcross Road we could see a few Trumpeter Swans down in the fields to the west and then a few Elk appeared and then a whole herd of the beauties were standing out grazing, it is always the way when your on the wrong side of the highway and no gaps in the concrete barriers. We did discuss about turning around, but we were on a mission to count birds not ungulates although I am sure a few photo’s would have helped holding back the tears. Later our good buddy Zan got some pictures.
This week our numbers of Swans increased with a healthy 233 adults and 42 immature, we were now getting a better ratio of young birds to adults. Bald Eagle numbers also bounced back up with 78 adults and 59 immature birds. Our total raptor count was 7 different species which is always nice to have, although the lack of Red-tailed Hawks was noticeable again this week. Barry managed a wonderful rear end shot of a Red-tail in Somenos, see attachment to see how this bird gets it’s name.
Best spot of the day was Richards Trail where the flooded fields were loaded with swans, geese and ducks, let’s hope no permit is issued to hunt on these lands this season as no crops have been planted now for more than four years and remains a very important area for waterfowl in migration.
We had another look at the Elk from the park and ride on Hwy18 before heading for our break.
Boy’s Road was next and good numbers of eagles were spread out among the trees at the bottom of the road and and it is nice to see heads way out in the field as some eagles were bathing in the flooded parts of the field. For the second week running at this location a accipiter darted over before we could get the glasses on it. Maybe next week will nail down what it is.
Back over to the west resulted in not much being added to our lists, another Merlin here and Bald Eagle there and then on Bench Road a group of swans awaited our counting while a Northern Shrike sat tantalizing on the wrong side of the sun on a hydro wire, oh it would have been such a nice shot.
Back along the highway and down to Dougan’s Flats, now I know how this location got it’s name as there was flat nothing there.
Back across to St.Catherine’s Drive and smiles were back on our faces as a group of swans and Canada Geese had a single Snow Goose among them. The girls went off to check out another raptor but it remained unnamed.
Jim’s pond had some geese and the Red-winged Blackbirds sat up in the willows to welcome us. I pished out a Spotted Towhee and asked it to come nearer which it obliged, it only sat still for a couple of shots in the brambles, that was enough for me to get a closeup of it’s red-eye.
Koksilah Road was next and again it was flat empty, not even a wayward duckie could be seen and gone was the shrike from last week. Down to the bay we went and 5 Mute Swans awaited us along with some Hooded Mergansers and a couple of Great Blue Herons. Just a few more eagles and a group of Canada Geese on Dinsale’s Farm and we were nearly done for the day.
The Dock Road had a Northern Harrier and hoards of Ducks and a pair of hunters scaring everything up from the fields, don’t the hunters understand that if they can see the ducks while walking out in the field, the ducks can also see them. We added a few more Trumpeters and eagles, four big lights in the wood yard were put down as Osprey just to please one of the counters and a e-mail was received from someone who left early and was supposed to be tending to the dog instead of playing on the computer.
That was it we were done, just a wonderful day out with good friends enjoying the wonder of nature.
When the sun shines you get lot’s of pictures, thanks everyone.

Photo Credits
Red-tailed Hawk by Barry Hetschko
Fox Sparrow by Barry Hetschko
Spotted Towhee by Derrick Marven
Richards Trail waterfowl by Derrick Marven
More Richards Trail Zan Stenhouse
Elk and little buddy by Zan Stenhouse
More Elk by Zan Stenhouse

Derrick


Swan & Goose count Nov 29th 2017

Collared Canada goose

 

Northern Shrike

 

Black bald eagle

 

Bald eagles

 

Snow geese

It was one of those days when you leave home and you think am i dressed properly, well for sure some of us weren’t as the wind and cold went right down to the bones. It was nice when the seven of us were riding around in the two vehicles with the heater on, but get out and wow!
Barry had already found a few goodies by the time we left and so we had to improve on his finds. The school football pitch along Beverly had two nice Snow Geese mixed in with some Canada’s – one was an immature and the other almost an adult, more than likely last years youngun. On the golf driving range we found our first neck collared goose of the season and after closer inspection Zan spotted that it had leg a band also and the one next to it also had a leg band but no neck collar. We quickly moved on getting more geese along the way and at Somenos Lake we got our first Bald Eagles to add to the Red-tailed Hawk and Peregrine Falcon that Barry had spotted. We would have had a nice picture of the Red-tail in flight but Barry’s computer crashed under the weight of all those bird pictures he takes. Along the Highway we found the first American Kestrel of the day sitting in the exhibition grounds, I think this could be the same bird from last year back to gather in the produce that assorted barns have to offer. At Quist’s Farm the 5 Greater White-fronted Geese from last week were still present and a good flock of American Wigeon. Along Westholme Road we got our first sitting Trumpeters to add to the four seen flying over Somenos flats and along Richards Trail another 74 Trumpeters with our first immatures of the day, it is good to see these birds back in this location. That was it until we hit Herd Road and another 33 Trumpeters and 300 Canada Geese were added along with a nice assortment of ducks with some snazzy Northern Shovellers showing well. Our next American Kestrel was on Tom Windsor Drive a long ways off down the hydro line. There really was not much else for the first half so we broke for a rest and huddled in the car park of A&W waiting for our new driver senior Derrick who I’m afraid has no sense of time or cold. It was nice to have our senior friend along this week for the full circuit although his spotting of many leaf birds was a cause of some concern. Back on the road one vehicle doing Boys and the other doing Sahilton, there were less Bald Eagles than last week this was enhanced by two really dark almost black immatures, I personally have never seen such dark birds almost melanistic in appearance with just a few white blotches. Over we went to the west side and a few eagles were up and floating around sadly the photographers were not so energetic in getting out. Just a single swan was seen until we hit the end of Koksilah Road west and here we saw 8 Trumpeters in a field where we have never had them before so this was a nice surprise. One real funny sighting along the road was this big truck with a very long aluminum bridge on a big trailer. it passed us twice, I made the remark that it was the York Road–Somenos Creek bridge looking for a new owner.
Up on Bench Road a nice group of 45 swans were way down the field and a Merlin sat up on Wilson Road the same spot where last week it sat. Funny how you learn that some birds have a pattern for feeding and hang out at the same places week after week, like it is their personal larder. Dougan’s Flats gave us our second Merlin and it was here that I found myself in trouble again as I thought it was a female Kestrel, the others put their foot down and I found myself floundering. Mrs.Marshall, the local head mistress, tweaked my ear and made me apologize to the other car. Oh! I bet she was bossy when she teached and had some good nicknames.
On St.Catherine’s we had just two swans and nothing else not even a dickie bird. We then after a few geese found ourselves down on Koksilah Road east where a good 300 Canada Geese were browsing and just around the corner on Wilmott Road was a lovely Northern Shrike which dragged me out of the truck for some snaps while senior Derrick and Kurlene caused chaos by blocking the road. If there are any readers held up during the road block please accept our apologies. A good Northern Shrike picture is hard to come by especially one that seems to come back to this location year after year. Down through Cowichan Bay and a few more eagles were added and four Mute Swans. By the time we got to the Dock Road the wind was blowing and small whitecaps were coming across the bay, so we didn’t dally long and headed for home. The other car had just got a Northern Harrier way over the field to help our good hawk and eagle numbers.

Back home to a nice hot drink and warm fire.

Photo credits.
Snow Geese by Zan Stenhouse
Banded Canada Geese by Zan Stenhouse
American Kestrel by Zan Stenhouse
Bald Eagles by Kurlene Wenberg
Black Bald Eagle by Derrick Marven
Northern Shrike by Derrick Marven

Derrick
wearing the dunces cap


Coastal Waterbird Counts, Sunday November 6th, 2017.

Cowichan Bay

On the south side: Linda Hill reports that a new birder named Doug showed up valiantly in the pouring rain to hold a large umbrella over our heads as we quickly counted these birds:

28 gull species; 3 common goldeneye; 3 horned grebes; 90 Buffleheads; 6 Double crested Cormorants; 2 Hooded Mergansers; 1 Great Blue Heron

On the north side: The following birds were seen three very wet bird counters – Kurlene Wenberg, Bob Nation, and Daryl Johnson.

Trumpeter Swan,31; Surf Scoter, 13; Bufflehead, 269; Common Goldeneye, 262; Common Merganser, 63; Double-crested Cormorant, 14; Bald Eagle, 14; Shorebird species; 35; Mew Gull, 31; Glaucous-winged Gull, 47; Gull species, 430; Northwestern Crow 1.

Jim & Lyn Wisnia had to start counts earlier, so avoided rain for Verdier Point area, though got it for Mill Bay area. Despite reduced visibility we were able to see the long string of Western Grebes way out in Saanich Inlet and quickly counted by tens to get the estimated total, an encouraging number.

Verdier Point:
1. American Wigeon, 17
2. Mallard 10
3. Surf Scoter 9
4. Bufflehead 21
5. Common Goldeneye 27
6. Barrow’s Goldeneye 15
7. Red-breasted Merganser 31
8. Common Loon 5
9. Horned Grebe 18
10. Brandt’s Cormorant 1
11. Pelagic Cormorant 6
12. Great Blue Heron 1
13. Bald Eagle 2
14. Mew Gull 5
15. Glaucous-winged Gull 6
16. gull sp. 7
17. Belted Kingfisher 1
18. Northwestern Crow 1

Mill Bay:
1. Mute Swan 8
2. American Wigeon 34
3. Surf Scoter 13
4. Bufflehead 65
5. Common Goldeneye 17
6. Hooded Merganser 2
7. Common Merganser 2
8. Red-breasted Merganser 15
9. Pacific Loon 8
10. Common Loon 2
11. Horned Grebe 2
12. Red-necked Grebe 2
13. Western Grebe 450 see comments above
14. Pelagic Cormorant 1
15. Double-crested Cormorant 5
16. Mew Gull 7
17. Glaucous-winged Gull 44
18. gull sp. 14
19. Belted Kingfisher 3


Swan & Goose count Nov.22nd 2017

Belted igfisher

Trumpter Swans

White-crowned sparrow

Wood duck

Screaming bald eagle

Juvenile bald eagle

We were only 5 today as one of our party had a Owlie after spending to much time on the mainland. The weather was warm and we managed to dodge most of the wet stuff and at the end of the day the sun shone and we were all smiles. Our swan count went up and the Bald Eagles put on a wonderful show with high numbers, they were dripping off the trees. At the end we had just over 150 Trumpeter Swans and just over 160 Bald Eagles. I don’t think we missed too many swans but I’m sure many eagles were missed and i think we could have easily trebled the eagle count with more time.
With just 5 people we went in one vehicle and wow, what happened in the back seat could have filled one of the tabloid front pages, who thought that a seat-belt could cause so much trouble and be put in so many wrong places, one member clung onto her new camera just in case she had to bail out at sometime.
Anyway enough of that, the birds did us proud this week with some wonderful views to be had and many pictures taken, I only wish I could add all the pictures but it would make the posting way to big. 2 American Kestrels, 1 Peregrine Falcon, Coopers Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk we were having fun. We had hardly started when a adult Northern Shrike was sitting on the new bird boxes at Somenos, sadly traffic did not allow enough time to get it’s portrait and it flew off. Quist’s Farm had 5 Greater White-fronted Geese our first of the season and a host of other waterfowl. Somenos at the corner of Beverly and TCH had most species of dabbler ducks in the now swollen water levels. What is strange so far this season is we have failed to find any of those neck banded Canada Geese from up island, not sure where they all went. Westholme Road came through with a ever growing flock of Trumpeter Swans which has now grown from 22 to 60 birds. Even Richards Trail had 6 swans this week, I wonder what will happen as the flooding increases. Herd Road is looking good and as long as the farmer lets them, the swans will increase here also. Canada Goose numbers increased this week with the higher counts being in the north end of the count area.
After our break we headed over to Boys Road where the number of eagles lining the trees was wonderful with many hanging out their wings as if they wanted to hand glide across the fields. This rain has washed many salmon carcasses down the river this in turn makes for easy pickings for the lovely Bald Eagles. It is always nice to see them out in the fields in the puddles taking a bath, good way to get that chummy smell off. When we hit Cowichan Bay several of the eagles put on a show for the photographers and many great shots were had. Many species of duckies have moved in with both species of Goldeneyes being seen. We added 5 Mute Swans to our total, all of them in Cowichan Bay.
Red-tailed Hawks were in short supply with just 2 seen all day, this was compensated by the 2 American Kestrels. Many Bald Eagles were in the trees on Tzouhalem Road adjacent to the river on our way home.
I can only say this was a wonderful day and how nice it would have been to have shown more of you what this wonderful valley has to offer, you will have to see the pictures and imagine what it was like to have been there.

If you see any spelling mistakes or grammar errors these are all intentional for you to spot.

Until we ride again, take care and enjoy our wonderful wildlife.

Derwick

Photo credits
Belted Kingfisher by Barry Hetschko
Trumpeter Swans by Zan Stenhouse
White-crowned Sparrow by Zan Stenhouse
Wood Duck by Derrick Marven
Screaming eagle by Barry Hetschko
juvenile Bald Eagle by Derrick Marven


Swan & Goose count Nov.8th 2017

It was a dry day although a little chilly, 5 people turned up for the count and because one of them was coming down with some nasty bug we decided to put all the clean ones in one vehicle and me with bugsy. I had already suffered the sickness, hopefully I was now immune to getting it for a second term. One of our group had paid a visit into Duncan before meeting up to see the Northern Mockingbird and it obliged by sitting up for a nice picture or two. This has to be the longest staying bird in BC history.
The swans and eagles put on a better show this week with 84 Trumpeters counted and 67 Bald Eagles most of the eagles being in the Boy’s Road area. We had 2 Merlins and 2 Northern Harriers one of which Barry and I was let off the hook, more on that in a bit.
Somenos Lake had a few swans and a small flock of geese, there wasn’t as many ducks out on the lake this week, the star of the show was a American Kestrel which sat up on a dead snag far out to the left from the elevated boardwalk at Drinkwater Road. This species is very uncommon in the Somenos area. We also had our first Northern Harrier here going back and forth on the far side of the lake. We motored along to Quist’s farm and found a few more swans, a small amount of assorted duckies and many Common Ravens. Along Westholme Road a good group of Eurasian Collared-Doves sat high up in a Maple tree. We then headed along Richards Trail but failed to find most of anything. We had discussed through e-mail about heading down east on Herd Road as a report of swans had come in and most were still there far out in the fields off of Flett Road. We then returned back along Herd to the highway, at Norcross we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk sitting up nicely and turned and took it’s picture although the light was not in our favor. Along Hwy 18 we saw nothing just some cows running across a field as if they thought it was spring, later we heard of a couple of cougars up that way so maybe the cows had spotted something that we missed. It was all downhill now until our break.
On Boy’s Road the annual gathering of Bald Eagles was in full swing with the trees all around dotted with these majestic birds. We had a few flyby Trumpeters over on Sahilton and then we left for pastures to the west. Koksilah Road was a bust and we did not see much until we hit Bench where a few of the early birds had set up shop way down in the field with their buddy Canada Geese keeping a ever watchful eye open for the nasty farmer. A distant Merlin took the girls off to get a picture and another Merlin sat up on Lakeside Road. Dougan’s Flats had just two adult Bald Eagles wondering where all the duckies had gone as only a handful sat down in a small puddle in the field. We crossed the highway and headed over to St. Catherine’s Road where we scored a nice group of 180 Canada Geese, strangely though there were hardly any dickie birds to be seen along the brambles. Our next lucky spot was along Koksilah Road east where good number of Geese were seen, we headed around to Wilmott Road for a better look and straight away I spotted a Snow Goose in the bunch. We counted around 600 Canada Geese here and the white one stood out like a sore thumb.
Down through the Bay where the first Common Goldeneyes of the fall had returned and the Bufflehead numbers grow daily. What was very strange was the lack of birds on Dinsdale’s farm with the fields devoid of any waterfowl what so ever.
The Dock Road was next which brings me back to the other Northern Harrier, as we drove along the road both Barry and I scanned the fields and posts in hopes of an early owl and then it happened right in front of us not 10 feet away a lovely male Harrier lifted off from a post, how did we miss this, the cameras were ready, sadly we were not and the bird fluttered off across the field, luckily one of our trusted ladies managed a flight shot in ever diminishing light. Sitting at home later on we heard that a Short-eared Owl and the Harrier were spotted again; oh well, you win some and loose some. With no swans or geese in the bay our day was done and as the temperature started to drop I think we were all ready for home and nice warm fire and chair to snooze in.

Photo credits.
Male Northern Harrier by Zan Stenhouse
Snow Goose by Derrick Marven
Red-tailed Hawk by Derrick Marven and Barry Hetschko
Trumpeter Swans by Zan Stenhouse

Red-tailed hawk

Trumpeter swans

Male Northern Harrier

Snow Goose

Red-tailed Hawk


Swan & Goose count Nov.1 2017

Peregrine Falcon

Young buck

Northern Harrier

Misty trumpeters

Red-tailed Hawk

Here we go again, it is hard to believe that today was the start of our ninth year doing this count and the fifth year of counting Hawks and Eagles.
The weather was tremendous with sunny skies all the way. 7 participants came out and so two cars left the dog park nearly on time. Think we need to get Bob an alarm clock for Xmas. Barry had already walked the dike chatting up some old dears and as we went up to meet him a nice Lincoln’s Sparrow sat up in the sun. The first two stops on the count produced good flocks of Canada Geese in the Somenos area, all of which were the big brutes. The third stop was down Drinkwater Road at Somenos Lake where way out on the far side of the lake in the morning mist sat our first Trumpeter Swans, three birds, one feeding and the other two asleep. Sadly these were the only swans total that we found all day. As promised to my buddy Paul I said three get well soons and it was appropriate that the swans would be in Somenos. Out on the lake were at least 20 Pied-billed Grebes a nice high count for this area, it appears they delighted in this past summers dry heat. My first Buffleheads of the season floated far out and when we came down through Cowichan Bay we had another nice group so this species is slowly arriving for winter. We added a few adult Bald Eagles as we moved along and a nice Red-tailed Hawk sat out in the open along Richards Trail for the lead car to admire, I think Eric will make sure that the camera is in the front from now on. As we came up out of the valley along the trail what appeared to be a large orangey breasted bird sat high up on top of a cedar tree, my first thoughts was it was a adult Sharp-shinned Hawk, then as we got closer a large woodpecker, maybe a Northern Flicker, it was then that my mouth overtook my brain and I said it could be a Lewis’s Woodpecker. The bird flew out of the tree just as Barry claimed a American Robin, I had egg on my face and to make matters worse a horse in a paddock started whinnying which honestly sounded like it was laughing at me. I did not mention any bird sightings again until the count was over for fear of ridicule. There was not much else of note before our break although Kurlene mentioned two birds that were up circling Mt.Prevost, one a eagle and one a accipiter. She did tell me what she thought they were, sadly I think she had joined my club so I just put them down as species. After our break it was off to Boy’s Road where we did get a nice adult Coopers Hawk and a couple of Red-tailed Hawks in the Modeste-Sahilton Road areas. It seemed strange at this early date not to find a single goose in the area. Today Nov.1st was the earliest we have ever started the count. We headed off to the west side of town, the cupboard was bare with nothing being seen, not even the second vehicle, man the’re slow. One thing of interest as we sat looking out over Dougan’s Flats was a red Meadowhawk dragonfly, which was almost certainly a Yellow-legged Meadowhawk one of the late flyers and by far the latest i have ever seen one. Back across the highway and we descended into Cowichan Bay, as Eric was making wonderful time we went down to visit the Sealions and what a wonderous group there was with well over 40 big beasts out in the bay and on the floating dock, most were Steller’s and just four Californian’s in view. Back down through the bay and along Cowichan Bay Road a nice Peregrine Falcon sat up on a dead snag. Dinsdale’s Farm had a big group of Geese with a Snow Goose trying to look inconspicuous in the middle. The last stop was on the Dock Road where were treated to some nice birds, a Eurasian Wigeon and possibly a hybrid one also, a flyover immature Northern Harrier with it’s distinct white rump who then put up a large flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls with more than 100 birds, the most I have seen in the bay in many a year. That was it our day was done.

Photo credits
Peregrine Falcon, Kurlene Wenberg
Young Buck, Barry Hetschko
Northern Harrier, Zan Stenhouse
Misty Trumpeters, Zan Stenhouse
Red-tailed Hawk, Eric Marshall

Not bad for the first week
Derrick


Coastal Waterbird Counts, Sunday, October 9th, 2017.

A bright and beautiful morning in Cowichan Bay, just after sunrise. On the south side of the Bay Carol Milo, Gail Mitchell, Laurie Vasey, and John Scull where joined at the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre by two visitors inspired by the Wildwings Festival: Bruce Coates and Karen Jarvis. There were very few waterbirds in the south side of the estuary this Thanksgiving morning but on shore we were treated to Varied Thrush, Song Sparrow, House Sparrow, and American Goldfinch.
The waterfowl we saw were: Horned Grebe, 1; Double Crested Cormorant, 7; Great Blue Heron, 1; Western Gull, 1; Glaucous-winged Gull, 7; Gull sp., 25; Belted Kingfisher, 2 ; Northwestern Crow 2

Kurlene Wenberg, Bob Nation, and Daryl Johnson saw the following birds on the north side of the Bay: Canada Goose, 1; Mute Swan, 10; American Wigeon, 279; Mallard, 23; Surf Scoter, 19; Common Merganser, 10; Pelagic Cormorant, 1; Great Blue Heron, 7; Bald Eagle, 1; Mew Gull, 14; Gull sp. 68; Belted Kingfisher, 2

Jim and Lyn Wisnia counted the following (12 species total):

In Mill Bay Area: Canada Goose, 79; Mute Swan, 4; Mallard, 1; Western Grebe, 199; Double Crested Cormorant, 1; Cormorant sp., 1; Mew Gull, 12; Glaucous- winged Gull, 15; Gull sp., 2; Belted Kingfisher, 2; Northwestern Crow, 2.

Verdier Point area: Surf Scoter, 5; Common Loon, 5; Brandt’s Cormorant, 1; Mew Gull, 18; Glaucous-winged Gull, 20; Gull sp., 2; Belted Kingfisher, 1.


Coastal Waterbird Count, Cowichan Bay, 10th September, 2017.

On the south side of the Bay, Laurie Vasey, Linda Hill, Kathy Coster, John Scull, and Carol Milo were joined by two new volunteers, Daniel Collins and Carol Hannon, for an hour of bird counting and socializing on a beautiful morning in Cowichan Bay. The sea was like glass, reflecting the mountains and the mist.

2 Canada Goose; 5 Double-crested Cormorant; 6 Great Blue Heron; 2 Osprey; 2 Western Gull; 3 Glaucous-winged Gull; 39 other Gulls;
A few purple martins were swooping around, but they wouldn’t land to be counted and a harbour seal passed by.

John Scull

Lovely morning on the North side of the bay, where Kurlene Wenberg and Daryl Johnson
viewed thirteen species of birds on the calm, sunny waters. So many Common Mergansers.
Really a fun challenge to count them!

Mute Swan 27; Mallard 12; Surf Scoter 4; Common Merganser 94; Great Blue Heron 8; Osprey 3; Shorebird species 70; Mew Gull 20; Glaucous-winged Gull 33; other Gull Species 60; Belted Kingfisher 1; Northwestern Crow 1; Common Raven 1

Daryl Johnson

The next count is scheduled for 8 am on Sunday, October 8.


Coastal Waterbird Counts, Cowichan Bay, Sunday 14th May, 2017.

It was a beautiful early morning with the sea a mirror reflecting the clouds and mountains. Linda Hill and John Scull completed the final count of the season. The winter ducks and swans are gone, but the purple martins and common mergansers have arrived in numbers. We saw:
Canada Goose 13; Common Merganser 26; Double-crested Cormorant 6; Great Blue Heron 6; Osprey 2; gull sp. 8; Belted Kingfisher 1; Northwestern Crow 6 ; Purple Martin 21; Starling 7

Early Sunday, found Richard Campbell and Carol Hartwig observing 10 species of waterbirds (not counting Purple Martins or Starlings) for a total of 48 birds from Khenipsen Road, Cowichan Bay North side. The weather was overcast with no precipitation and the Bay was rippled to calm during a falling tide.
Common Loon 1; Great Blue Heron 7; Mute Swan 9; Mallard 16; Bufflehead 2; Common Merganser 6; Bald Eagle 2; Osprey 3; Glaucous-winged Gull 1; Turkey vulture 1; Purple Martin 3; Starling 1.


Annual trip to Qualicum and Parksville, 25th March, 2017

Now I am sure that you’ve all heard the phrase Piggy in the Middle, well after much praying to the sun gods and a reverse rain dance I manged to get us a somewhat sunny day for our annual birding trip for the Herring spawn. I think that the spawn was not all that spectacular this year as we hardly saw any eggs on the beaches. Only a few passing Sealions were seen and no fishing boats.
The 11 birders/photographers arrived in Qualicum at 9:30 and straight away we got one of those special little species that always turns up for the spawn the diminutive Bonaparte’s Gull. Sadly I think we only spotted one with it’s black hood all the rest still in winter plumage, just like some of our party. The rafts of sea ducks were way out but with much scanning we did mange to see most of the expected species although some were in small numbers like: Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter and Loons which were in very small numbers. There was also another problem with the birds being so far out the photographers turned on their own kind and several were seen snapping pics of each other.
One of the stars at the Qualicum lookout was a Sanderling; this species was one that always gave the Old Country Twitchers a problem finding during those days of the Brant Big Day Birding Competition. Another nice species seen was a 1st year Herring Gull that looked massive against the Bony’s and Mew Gulls, it got disturbed and flew before most participants were up and running. Another good gull species was a 1-2nd year Glaucous Gull that fed out in the milling throng.
We had been there a while when Genevieve turned up, this greenhorn to birding was eager to see the masses and we tried our best to show her and the others all the species that were out there. This is always a problem with diving ducks and large flocks because one second they’re there and the next they’re gone and if your not that quick looking through the scope, well too bad.
We moved down one street in the hopes of the birds being closer and it was a bit better but not to the liking of the shutterbugs. A pair of Eurasian-collared Doves sat high up on a dead snag and a few Tree Swallows passed us by.
Our next stop was Kincade Road and good numbers of birds were had. There was still that little chill to the wind and we knew that it was still March and that we should not expect too much from the weather. A Great Blue Heron was added to our total and both Red-winged Blackbirds and House Sparrows were along the road. We scanned the birds in hopes of finding another good bird, sadly none were found so we moved on down to Columbia Beach. Here I’m afraid to say was a disaster as it was hard to even find a bird, there appeared to be more people than birds and they were sparse.
That was it time for our lunch break so off we went for much needed food, that is for some of us who didn’t get up early enough to make a sandwich.We grabbed some goodies and were off to the Parksville community park. I think it should be renamed parking lot as we were unable to find any spots out near the birds so us gimpy ones were dropped off and others shuttled out whilst the drivers parked out near Coombs, well somewhere that far away.
Things were slow here as we munched into our lunches, the ducks were far off across the bay, just one lonely Bald Eagle sat out on the gravel bar and Genevieve went out to chat him up. A few dabbling ducks were off the point all were American Wigeon with one Eurasian type with them which Caroline had spotted but kept it to herself, she’ll learn there are no secrets when I’m around. A single female Yellow-rumped Warbler sat in the tree and was camouflaged which made it hard to get the others to see it. I payed off some dog walker and managed to secure a parking spot for Dave, but it was all too late for the birds and us old timers made the long slog back to the vehicles, while some got in with Dave.
Our next stop was the Plummer Road side of the Englishman River Estuary, the number of gulls on this side was incredible and a massive flock took to the air as a Bald Eagle sailed over looking for that one that does not look too fast. It was here that we scored big time, Kurlene spotted a peep fly in and I got on it straight away and much to my dismay it was a breeding plumage Western Sandpiper an incredibly early arrival, not many have been recorded this early before on Vancouver Island. The other nice sighting was a hybrid American X Eurasian Green-winged Teal, you don’t see many of these around.
We headed around to the beach to have a look and well guess what the Scoters were all close in and a wonderful sighting was had by the happy campers. All this joy was brought to a sudden halt when this funny wet stuff started to descend on us , at first just a few drops which i thought was some gull passing over, but no it was the real stuff and it got a little heavy before that nasty cloud passed over. We all had wonderful looks at the ducks before we headed back south and the next stop the Ugly Dwarf meadows. We scanned from the top of the road but only a couple of Common Ravens were spotted, but down further we were treated to a very unusual sight 3 American Kestrels we had; I have never had three in one location before. A Red-tailed Hawk was spotted our only one of the day. Some of us were now starting to lag and a small flock of Turkey Vultures picked up on this straight away and circled overhead and so we got back in the cars and headed for home.
Our day was done and we had enjoyed some lovely sights and it is always a wonderful trip up that area to view the birds and scenery. Big thanks to all for their friendship and laughter which made for a lovely March day out with nature.Here is the list of bird species seen on our trip:

Brant
Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal X Eurasian Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Bonaparte’s Gull
Mew Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer’s Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous Gull
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian-collared Dove
Anna’s Hummingbird
American Kestrel
Northwestern Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
American Robin
Eurasian Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch
House Sparrow

58 species

Derrick


Coastal Waterbird Counts – Sunday 12th March, 2017

Crab dinner

Gull

It was cold and windy on the south side of Cowichan Bay as Eric Marshall, Carol Milo, Linda Hill, Wilma Harvie, and Gail Mitchell counted birds while John Scull kept records. Here’s what was counted:

Mute Swan 2 ; Surf Scoter 33; Bufflehead 102; Common Goldeneye 24; Double-crested Cormorant 2; Bald Eagle 1; Western Gull 1; gull sp. 6; Northwestern Crow 2

Daryl Johnson and Kurlene Wenberg saw the following species on the North side of the Bay:

Canada Geese 8; Mute Swan 4; Trumpeter Swan 1; American Wigeon 8; Mallard 3; Surf Scoter 14; White-winged Scoter 6; Bufflehead 20; Common Goldeneye 19; Hooded Merganser 2; Common Merganser 9; Double-Crested Cormorant 2; Great Blue Heron 1; Turkey Vultures 5; Bald Eagle 1; Dunlin 5; Mew Gull 3;Thayer’s Gull 1; Glaucous-winged Gull 16; Common Raven 2

Lyn and Jim Wisnia saw these species:

1.  Verdier Point area:

American Wigeon 10; Surf Scoter 6; Bufflehead 25; Common Golden eye 42; Barrow’s Goldeneye 42; Common MergaNSER 3; Red-breasted Merganser 18; Common Loon 1; Loon sp. 1; Horned Grebe 5; Red-necked Grebe 2; Great Blue Heron 1; Mew Gull 10; Herring Gull 2; Glaucous-winged Gull 31.

2. Mill Bay area:

Mute Swan 2; American Wigeon 7; Surf Scoter 3; Bufflehead 30; Common Goldeneye 29; Barrow’s Goldeneye 5; Hooded Merganser 1; Common Merganser 6; Red-breasted Merganser 1; Common Loon 1; Horned Grebe 7; Bald Eagle 1; Glaucous-winged Gull 27; Gull sp. 1; Northwestern Crow 7; Common Raven 1; Cormorant sp .1.

Total birds for both these two areas: 305

Results can be viewed at http://www.birdscanada.org/birdmon/bccws/main.jsp

Attached are two pictures taken today by Wilma Harvie


Swan & Goose count March 15th 2017

Trumpeter Swans

 

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-breasted Sapsucker

 

Hooded Merganser

Another wonderful day for the counters with finally some warmer weather. Seven counters left the dog park and two others joined us just down the road, when we finished we had 5 counters when we returned, now where did we mislay those other counters, who knows. If you should see any birders wandering around with clipboards please take them in and feed them generous doses of waterfowl videos.
The numbers of Trumpeters continue on a high this week even though the snow has gone, guess their not ready to leave us yet. One thing I have noticed this season is that there has not been much sign of the swans gesturing to each other with head bobbling displays and other seductive movements, maybe it’s still to come.
The day started well with two early birds at the dog park getting a flyover Turkey Vulture and they were swift to show me the picture for confirmation. A few Geese were recorded before we reached the rest stop beside Somenos Marsh, where to my amazement the ladies vehicle exclaimed that there was a seal in the marsh, now there have been a couple of sightings of seals in the lake, but in the marsh is totally different matter. The lead car could see some ripples out under the willows and then a head and back come up, but sadly it was just one of the local Otters who “sealed” the identification with it’s long tail coming up out of the water.
Somenos Lake was very slow with just some loafing Double-crested Cormorants and a bunch of geese. There were a pair of Bald Eagles attending a nest in the far end of the lake, this was our second nest sighting of the day as the other Derrick and I had seen a pair at a nest on Quamichan Lake. On the way back up Drinkwater one of the Red-breasted Sapsuckers was on the maple tree just waiting for unsuspecting photographers to pas by. After trying to drag the girls away from this obliging woodpecker we were off up the highway to Quist’s Farm where a good number of Trumpeters awaited our counting. Old senior in the backseat said there’s an eagle up on the big dead snag and as soon as I looked at it I thought this is different, as we pulled around to the other side I felt that we might be looking at a Golden Eagle but the light was not good. With the scope set up I was still second guessing this bird, it was very tatty but with what appeared to be a golden mantle. It is good that we have such accomplished photographers in our group because having received their snaps I am now convinced we had a second year Golden Eagle.
On we pressed on down along Westholme and Richards Trail, things were slow and not many numbers were added to our lists, an eagle here and red-tail there and a goosy goosy gander or two and that was it. We did have a few swallows flying around which convinced us that this was finally spring. Not sure what channel senior Derrick was watching but he said snow was in the forecast, think he was watching some eastern channel. He had earlier proclaimed to me that he had a bath just before I picked him up, I have to admit that mid-month baths are not for me, I think there are some old cowboy genes in me as once a month is enough. I can’t believe what measures some take to impress the ladies.
Back to the birds, a few Trumpeters were up on Hwy 18 along with a raptor or two. Back down towards A&W for our rest and a few more Geese were picked up along the baseball fields. It was a good thing school was out as we were a bit late getting our lunch and the queues were small. After a short break we were off again to Boy’s Road and as usual the second car lagged along behind, lucky they did as they got a Coopers Hawk our only one of the day. A few Swans were counted but that was it before we headed off over to the west and some very dark beckoning clouds. Finally we started to get more swans and we left Koksilah Road west with 65 total. Bench Road came next and way down the fields was another 45 birds. At this point Dorothy started to sharpen the pencil in anticipation of more to come. Dougan’s Flats added a few more Trumpeters which tried to hide behind a barn but nothing gets past us. Over to St. Catherine’s we ventured and just two handfuls of Trumpeters and a small group of Canadas. Again the ladies dragged their feet as they found our first Northern Harrier of the day.
Jim’s Pond had Northern Shovellers, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks and just a few Canada Geese. Cherry Point Road added over 60 Swans and this was just the buildup to the big flock coming along Koksilah Road east where after much counting we had nearly 190 Trumpeter’s.
Back down through the bay and the tide was out with not much showing. Dinsdale’s Farm pulled in another 105 Canada Geese before we hit the Dock Road. You must have heard that expression dead as a dodo, well the bay was it until just as we were about to leave and our second Northern Harrier payed us a visit.
One thing I did notice today was the lack of any small birds just a few here and there.
That was it; those big black clouds were getting closer it was time to roll up the blanket and put the glasses in the basket and head for home.
Just two more counts to go and we hope that some birds stay around for us to count.

Photo Credits

Hooded Merganser by Barry Hetschko
Red-breasted Sapsucker by Eric Marshall
Coopers Hawk by Zan Stenhouse
family of Trumpeter’s by Zan Stenhouse

Take Care
Derrick

From Comox Valley: This weeks Trumpeter tally was 1041 adults and 179 juveniles for a total of 1220. In comparison, the total tally for the same period in 2016 was 801 swans.


Swan & Goose count March 8th 2017

Trumpeter swans

 

Getting the boot

 

Mount Prevost

 

Bald Eagle

 

Squiggle

 

Glaucous gull

Today was world woman’s day and we were joined by 4 lovely ladies for our count and to keep with equality there were also 4 men. This week we managed to just keep in front of the winter weather, you could see the snow coming down around the hills, but for us it kept its distance. It was not until our last stop did some light rain would catch up with us.
Our numbers for swans and geese were much the same as the last couple of weeks, but the raptors once again took a knock, we did find a American Kestrel in a new location on Hwy 18 so all was not lost.
We searched high and low for a couple of Pink-footed Geese that have been in the valley for a few days but they eluded us on this day.
Our first stop was the Golf Driving range on Beverly Street and right in front of us was a 1st winter Glaucous Gull which has been around in many locations for a few weeks now, quickly many pictures were taken before we moved on.
Somenos Marsh was slow as was the lake, just the local goose flocks were seen. We quickly made our way up the highway gaining a few Bald Eagles on the way until we got to Quist’s Farm and our first good numbers of swans.
This week we run at about 25% ratio of adults to immature which was nice.
As sometimes happens the lead car gave the slip to the others on a couple of occasions, week after week I tell them to keep up, but you know these photographers, they don’t listen, they see a photo op and everything else goes out the window.
Numbers along Westholme Road and Richards Trail were poor and it was not until we reached the rest stop at Hwy 18 did we start to get some good numbers, it was here that Barry spotted the Kestrel far off on a hydro wire. Now if I’m not mistaken, you know how my old memory disc is lately, the Kestrel is possibly the fourth falcon species that we have had at this location along with a Coopers Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle, maybe some of you should take a little rest here now and again and just relax with your binoculars and take in the sights.
We finally found ourselves at A&W a bit late and all the rugrats from the school had invaded which forced two of our group to get back in the vehicle and go through the drive-through for quicker service, this all took time and we were late leaving; good job Dorothy was not with us as we would have had to finish off all her cookies this week.
Along Boys Road we went with still not much to be seen, a Red-tailed Hawk and a immature Bald Eagle were counted and only 2 Canada Geese. Over to Sahilton and Corfield Roads managed to get us 35 Swans and that was it
Koksilah Road west came up with another 30+ Trumpeters and a few Geese before we gave the slip on the ladies as we went up Riverside Road without letting them know and the along Koksilah past Bench where we scored a few Swans before catching up with the ladies who to my amazement had counted the Bench Road flock, well done girls.
This past weeks we have encountered on several occasions a single swan all be itself in a field and for the second time on Wilson Road a single bird was had all by his lonesome. Dougan’s Flats had a big flock of geese and a few swans, one which we thought was a bucket until it put it’s head up.
We did encounter a few molting deer this week who’s coats looked a lot like an old fur coat that my dear old mum used to put down for the dog now and again.
Over to St.Catherine’s Road where just 3 swans were waiting to be counted along with some White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, all the California Quail have seemed to have vanished, I think they’ve had enough of this off and on again winter.
Things were now starting to hot up as we reached Telegraph Road and Cherry Point Road with good large flocks of swans and by the time we left over 200 Trumpeter Swans were added to our list, sadly the Pink-footed Geese were nowwhere to be seen, much to the annoyance of one of our party who it seems has been unable to find these birds.
Koksilah Road east added two handfuls of swans and then it was off down to Dinsdale’s Farm for our last big count of the day, over 200 Canada Geese and one lonely Cackler were seen and the first spits of rain was starting.
The Dock Road was chilly and just two Mute Swans and 4 Trumpeters were seen before all counters bundled back in the vehicles as a adult Bald Eagle sat on the osprey platform with a bit of a smirk on its face.
The rain was now getting more than a few drops as the hills around us had a lovely coating of snow, we were just glad that we had stayed in front of the nasty weather for most of the day.
There are now only 3 more counts for the season before both us and the swans get the boot and it awaits us in a field along our route.

Photo credits

Glaucous Gull by Kurlene Wenberg
Squiggle by Barry Hetschko
Getting the boot by Zan Stenhouse
Trumpeter Swans by Zan Stenhouse
Bald Eagle by Christina Cutbill
Mt. Prevost by Barry Hetschko

Derrick

From Comox Valley: This weeks Trumpeter tally was 950 adults and 203 juveniles for a total of 1153. In comparison, the total tally for the same period in 2016 was 1553 swans.


Swan & Goose Count March 1st 2017

Three happy campers

 

Swan counters

Two wood owls

Red breasted sapsuckers

 

Ring necked ducks

It was one of those days when the weather was not sure what it wanted to do, so we got a bit of everything except that white stuff, but there were many little piles left on our trip around today. It sure did feel more like spring as 8 counters headed out from the dog park. It was nice to have our good friend Kurlene back with us this week. Because of the trouble last week we segregated the North Americans from the Brits in two cars, it must have affected the solitary male in the Canuck vehicle as he failed to take a picture with his big lens.
This week we recorded our best numbers for Trumpeter Swans this season with just under 600 birds, we almost had the same number of geese as last week with just 3 birds more at 1056. The raptor numbers put on a good show with 3 Merlins getting top honors along with 8 Red-tailed Hawks. Even the Bald Eagle numbers went up with 32 being seen.
Swans were spread out over many locations this week and we added a new location as there were good numbers seen just down Cherry Point Road, we try not to deviate from our route too much, but it was hard to pass up this good flock.
A Peregrine Falcon and our first Northern Shrike were seen out from the dog park. We started on our way and with just a few birds under our belt we hit Drinkwater Road and who should be boozing it up on the Maple tree but the Red-breasted Sapsucker, we left her in peace and headed down to the lake but sadly we could only find one lonely Trumpeter far off in the distance. Also out on the lake was a handful of Ruddy Ducks. Back off up the road we went and I could see the Sapsucker on the tree so with the window wound down Eric had point blank shots,but hold on what was that hiding around the back of the tree, it was another, a male this time, now we had two at point blank range only now they could not fit in the view finder of the camera, lucky for us Zan was a bit further away in the vehicle behind and captured the occasion.
Quist’s Farm gave us many birds and out in the fields among a flock of Wigeon was a Eurasian cousin. We had a few more Swans along Westholme Road but Richards Trail was a bust until we reached the hydro lines and the American Kestrel was keeping watch over its rodent field.
It was good this week to see that the swans were back feeding again after Mondays big snowfall, this weather has sure not helped their preparations for their journey north, the young birds especially needing to be fully fit.
Hwy 18 had good numbers of swans and geese and it was nice to see the farmer come down the field and go through his gate and leave the birds in peace, a welcome sight in this much publicized assumed problem in the Cowichan Valley
The elk were also in sight again this week but back in the trees this time.
After our break it was over to the Boys and Sahilton areas, not much was found so we headed over to the west side. Both Bench and Wilson Roads had good numbers of Swans but I did not see any sign of a dead swan that reportedly hit the wires.
Dougan’s Flats was devoid of birds and it was not until we hit Telegraph and Cherry Point Roads did we start adding good numbers to our total.
Like many birders we sometimes cause a little problem by stopping on the road to look at birds, this was the case when a lovely Northern Shrike sat up on top of a tree along Willmot Road I put on the hazard lights and opened up the sun roof so that Eric could get a picture, but one irate driver was not happy with what we were doing and pulled right up behind us and then along side, me being a good old boy totally blanked him much to his annoyance as he drove off up the road. Some people have no respect for a swan counter.
We headed down to the bay and as we hit Dinsdale’s Farm a large group of geese was gathered knowing that those peskily hunters were not there to disturb them. Barry exclaimed an Owl and flying over the field was a Short-eared Owl being bothered by a persistent Common Raven but in the end the Raven let the Owl get on with the job at hand.
Our last surprise of the day was the sighting of two immature Mute Swans swimming out near the log booms in the bay, funny we have not seen these birds all season, I just wonder where they have been all this time.

That was it our day was done and a very successful one it was.

Photo Credits
Ring-necked Ducks by Zan Stenhouse
Red-breasted Sapsuckers by Zan Stenhouse
Two Wood Owls by Zan Stenhouse
Swan counters at the lake by Barry Hetschko
Three happy campers by Cristina Cutbill

Derrick

From Comox Valley: This weeks Trumpeter tally was 942 adults and 201 juveniles for a total of 1143. In comparison, the total tally for the same period in 2016 was 1818 swans.


Swan & Goose count Feb. 22nd 2017

Flying Trumpeter Swans

 

Flying Cooper’s Hawk

 

Budding photographer

 

Elk

 

Red-tailed Hawk

 

‘Plastic Pileated woodpecker’

“Plastic Pecker”

7 counters turned up at the dog park this morning and we were greeted with a Peregrine Falcon and a adult Bald Eagle, it was then that I knew we were into a good days birding.
Today the weather forecasters got it slightly wrong as it was a beautiful day with above average temperatures which the counters dealt with in many different ways, some even turning into spring plumage, but all agreed it was one to enjoy.
Our raptor numbers were not that impressive today with Bald Eagle numbers dropping drastically, but we did find 7 Red-tailed Hawks including a lovely Western type sitting in the sun along Hwy 1 north at Mays Road, two Peregrine Falcons, 1 Merlin, and 2 Coopers Hawk made up our total.
Trumpeter Swan numbers bounced back up as the fields once again became green and no mist to obscure our vision and we ended up with 385 adults and 73 immature. Canada Goose numbers also rose with 1053 seen, along with 3 Snow Geese off Koksilah Road east. Earlier in the morning I had seen a couple of Greater White-fronted Geese on the baseball fields beside the hwy at Beverly but sadly they did not materialize on the count.
After leaving the dog park our first good bird of the day was a wonderful Western Gull on the school playing fields.
We only saw one neck banded Canada Goose today 008. It has come to our attention that one of our own has been fitted with a neck collar, this collar has a big “J”, if you should see this big tall goose please report it to Linda as she wants to keep tabs on it’s movements. Get well soon John!
Great excitement at the Forest Discovery Center when Christina spotted a Pileated Woodpecker, it sat so still and did not move a feather as she fired off many shots, it was still there in the same spot and had not moved an inch on Thursday morning.
We encountered 2 Ring-necked Pheasants on Richards Trail, but there was no sign of the third that was seen on Monday, but there was a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on the hydro pole just down the way, did he? We will never know.
Once again one of the big highlights was seeing the herd of Elk up Hwy 18 with 29 beasts right out in the open. One of the young males was very pale and stood out just like the Glaucous Gull did last week, these fields have held some of the best sightings that we have had on the count over the seasons for all species.
This week we had a new driver who did a wonderful job of keeping the troops on the straight and narrow and was heading for a record early run if hadn’t been for the antic’s of the lady in the back seat who entertained the two Derricks with much laughter and banter taking place. I have never known a lady so well equipped for a swan count and she was very forthcoming sharing her treats with us.
For the most part all the Trumpeter Swans that we encountered this week were feeding heavily, it is that time to fatten up for the great move north, they have had a setback with all the snow, so they are playing catchup. If any are not fully fit for the migration they could succumb to their task.
We finished our count on the Dock Road where the breeze reminded us that we are still in February and we should not let our guard down or be lured into false comforts.

Photo Credits

Red-tailed Hawk by Barry Hetschko
Pileated Woodpecker by Christina Cutbill
Elk by Zan Stenhouse
Budding Photographer by Barry Hetschko
Flying Coopers Hawk by Christina Cutbill
Flying Trumpeter Swans by Zan Stenhouse

Derrick
Now where did I put that snow shovel?

From the Comox Valley:
This weeks Trumpeter tally, the highest this season, was 883 adults and 248 juveniles for a total of 1131. The previous high number for this season was 1112 on January 17th. In comparison, the total tally for the same period in February 2016 was 1333 swans.