Swan and Goose Count, January 14th

The top cat was back this week and this old moggie was not going to allow the antics of last week, so i rounded up the troops in the car park and told them in no uncertain terms the fun was over and that the 6 counters were to follow my instructions to the fullest, they in turn just laughed at me.
Our count had a wonderful day with many great sightings and good numbers of birds. Just under 500 Trumpeter Swans and an almost identical number of Canada Geese as last week at 804.
Somenos Marsh did not show us too much this week, but the lake was different with over 100 Trumpeters and a nice group of Ruddy Ducks over on the far shore.
We left here and headed along the highway and we hadn’t gone a km when i spotted some swans on the west side of the road, we all jumped out right in front of the Toyota dealership binoculars at the ready and peered over the road and i was astounded to see 24 Great White-fronted Geese along with over 50 Trumpeters. I looked around to see 2 car salesman heading back to the warmth of the office, i guess they thought we were looking at the second hand car lot, then realized we were only birdwatchers.
Then on to Quist’s Farm where a few swans were had along with some Bald Eagles and small flock of Killdeer which were disturbed by a over flying eagle.
It was then that i gave in to the ladies wishes, yes i do have a soft spot for them. Due to last weeks diversion along Crofton Road i thought that it would be best to check this location out again and we were rewarded with just under 60 Swans, if some of you look at the files attached this number is added into the Quist total for my easy adding.
It then went slow for the next few stops with just a few flocks of Canada Geese added. 5 swans were added along Drinkwater Road in fields that were contentious over the Christmas period because of hunting.
After our break we headed over to Sahilton Road, but sadly this area has not been good for a while now and only offered up a few birds.
It was here that the ladies started to turn on the charm and flaunted truffles and chocolate covered berries at me and sadly i succumbed and was under their witching control.
We headed for the west side and ended up on Riverside Road due to a tip from our trusted driver who had spied some big white birds in a field, when we arrived we found 19 adults and 7 immature swans. More truffles were forthcoming and i was truly hooked.
Bench Road was next and as has been the norm the swans were way down the field making hard to count, let alone identify, but in the end we had just under 50 swans and 60 geese.
Dougans Flats gave us another 25 swans, but nothing else.
St Catherines Road came through with a nice assortment and 26 adults and 23 immature made for a great percentage.
We hit Koksilah Road east and found a few birds and then moved around to the other side on Wilmott Road where we were lucky to spot another group of swans, so we lept out of the vehicles and this time it was obvious who it was who caused so much trouble last week as she left the rear end of her vehicle stuck out in the road, blocking two pedestrians from their afternoon walk. By this time i was across the road and had spotted our second bonus of the day, the Sandhill Crane was there with his Trumpeter buddies, i quickly alerted the group and many distant and misty pictures were taken. I was going to mention here about Deb, but she is such nice person, Deb your problem is safe with me, so sad.
Down into the Bay we went and spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk just before we turned onto the Dock Road and out in the bay we had just 3 Swans and not much else to spout about. Kurlene tapped me on the shoulder and told me she thought she had a Northern Harrier across the other side of the road, but she mentioned some light patches in the wings, well this pricked my ears up as Short-eared Owls have light patches in the wings. These two species can be hard at times to tell from a distance. We slowly drove back down the road and then magically i spotted the tell tale moth like flight of a a Short-eared, so cars were abandoned and all were out to watch this wonderful owl go back and forth in front of us before it darted into the grass and sat just out of sight for a while before taking off back over the fields to look for it’s supper. A few snaps were taken, but it would have been nice if it had come closer. Finally at the end of the road a immature Coopers Hawk decided to be really friendly to us and sat and admired us from a oak tree.
What a fitting end to a wonderful day, everyone left with a smile on their face and i have to admit we run about an hour late this week due to unforeseen circumstances, which we will take any week.
There are a few pictures attached this week, big thanks to Barry.
Sorry if this weeks post is a little large, hope you all enjoy it.

Happy Birding

2014-15 Swan and Goose Count.xls

2014-15 Raptor count.xls