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.
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
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.