Swan and Goose count Nov. 20th 2019

Barrow’s goldeneye

Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon

Gull with sea lion

Flying trumpeter swans

Red-tailed hawk

American kestrel

Belted kingfisher

Yes it was another sunny Wednesday, a little nippy to start but then that sun packed a lot of heat. 7 people left the dog park in two vehicles, we did manage to get rid of 3 along the way as they had more pressing things to do than count birds, how could they? Our first real port of call was Somenos Lake where old gimpy had to stay in the vehicle with his poorly hip while the counters went off and found nothing, you send them off and they come back empty handed, I tell you, you can’t get good help these days. I did see a hummer and a Song Sparrow while waiting.
Many people have commented on the lack of Swans over the past weeks, when I have looked back over the records this is not unusual, down somewhat from our early days when there were more swans. Over the last few years this is the norm. This week we found 120 Trumpeters, 1467 Canada Geese, 6 Cackling Geese and 2 Snow Geese. I believe there were more Cacklers in the groups of geese but when they are a long ways off and hanging close together we don’t have the time to spend checking each one.
The Bald Eagles posted a similar pattern as previous years although I do have concern that our numbers will not increase over the coming weeks because of the lack of food. A big percentage of the birds counted were in one spot a wet puddle in one field which was having a free bath Wednesday special, with both adults and immature cleaning up, again they were a long ways off and I am sure there were a few more out there.
On our way to lunch we came towards Beverly Street on the highway and Barry spotted a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on one of the swallow boxes, he quickly had the camera out the window and got a good picture. I can’t imagine what the cars behind and beside us thought was going on as this big lens came zooming out the window. Not something you see most days while sitting at the lights.
After lunch Barry and I found ourselves with two new customers in the back seats, these two were in charge of Dorothy’s tally sheet who had wondered off at A&W, it was a good job they had all their fingers and toes to add up on. I have always wondered why the rubber on the end of the pencil wore down so quick. In the end they did a good job and it did not take long for me to sort out the numbers. That’s what I get the big bucks for.
Most of the big flock of swans and geese were in the Sahilton Road area as was a Peregrine Falcon that was keeping an eye on proceedings and all the Mallards, the falcon was one of four we found today with two other Peregrines and an obliging American Kestrel.
Once again this week it was not  a day for dickie birds with ever decreasing numbers noted, I blame the weather, it’s too good, the birds are out and about having fun instead of waiting around for us to come along and take their pictures.
We were lucky near the end of the count with a Northern Shrike and the Kestrel, sadly no Mute Swans and because the leader forgot his scope the duckies out on Cowichan Bay just got a glance over with the binoculars.
We all had a good time and the chocolate lady came through again, not sure where she keeps getting these bars of chocolate but we welcome them none the less. Not sure if we will all fit in the vehicles by the end of the season.
Derrick
Photo Credits
Barrow’s Goldeneye by Derrick Marven
Peregrine Falcon by Zan Stenhouse
Gull, what Sealion by Zan Stenhouse
Flying Swans by Barry Hetschko.
Red-tailed Hawk by Barry Hetschko
American Kestrel by Barry Hetschko