Swan & Goose count Dec. 20th 2017

Cowichan Bay Swans

Tundra & trumpeter swans in flight


Snowy owl


Great blue heron


Swans in flight


Golden crowned sparrow

It was the week before Christmas and it was quiet, it was no wonder as all was white
The sun was clear which made the birds disappear
Our numbers were down which left me with a frown
Dorothy and Eric had disappeared but Bob and Helen suddenly appeared

Oh! I am not that good at that stuff.
5 birders cuddled up with Barry in his 4 wheel drive and it was a good thing as in some spots we needed to crunch some snow even if we didn’t crunch lot’s of numbers. The swan numbers were down and the good numbers dropped like a stone, on the good side we did find a few more Red-tailed Hawks this week all taking in a few rays of the lovely sun. I can you believe it we found a American Kestrel in another new spot, either this bird gets around a lot or we have a good number of them in the valley, it will be interesting to see how many get counted during the Duncan Christmas bird count on the 1st of January. Eagle numbers were good although they were spread out a bit except for one tree on Boys Road that had a good number all chatting away.
Somenos Lake had a nice group of Trumpeter Swans, sadly they were way down in the south-west corner in thick mist and although I could count them I could not tell if there were any immature with them so they all went down as adults
We found 4 Killdeer on Quist’s Farm along with a good helping of swans and geese as they enjoyed the last bit of unfrozen water to be had. On Richard’s Trail we found our only falcon of the day the American Kestrel and with the water fast freezing only four Trumpeters were seen along with some dabbling ducks.
This week all participants behaved themselves so there was no juicy tales to tell,yes this weeks lot were a dull old bunch but good company.
Boy’s Road came through with it’s usual assortment of Bald Eagles with one tree bending under the numbers. A few Golden-crowned and Song Sparrows hopped from snow mound to snow mound and Barry just manged to get a shot in before someone came down the road and they all dived into a snow ladenned blackberry bush. On Sahilton Road we found bird of the day, I was telling everyone about a moggy that was sitting up on snow bank when Zan exclaimed look there’s a Great Blue Heron close, well close it was and Barry said I can’t get it all in the frame, so I grabbed the camera while Zan was letting the rapid fire of her camera go unabated and with such an obliging bird I hate to think how many pictures we took between us. This bird would not fly away instead paraded up and down in the bright sun, what a darling it was, thanks Mr or Mrs Great Blue Heron for a real treat.
A very strange occurrence on St. Catherine’s Road where Barry spotted a Northern Shrike that was sat up in a tree with a American Robin, maybe the robin was a bit big to stab on a spike somewhere so it was left alone as the shrike took off across the fields to find something bit smaller. Good numbers of Swans and Geese were counted at this location and some California Quail sat up nicely only for the camera to decide it was too sunny on the snow and failed to focus properly, don’t you just hate these over sunny days.
Good numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds were on Jim’s Crescent although the pond was frozen so no duckies or geese this week.
Just off of Telegraph Road we encountered a Snowy Owl which appeared to have dived into some dirty snow as its beak and the front of its face were a little dirty as it sat up beside a chimney breast for heat.
With Koksilah Road East devoid of birds we soon found ourselves down in Cowichan Bay where a few swans awaited us counters, then a few Eagles were at Dinsdale’s Farm and is always the case of late they sat on the wrong side of the road with the sun behind, you’d think they would know that we count on Wednesday and would be taking photographs of birds.
The Dock Road was next and a good number of Trumpeter Swans were enjoying the Khenipson Road side of the sunny bay while a few Bald Eagles sat on some posts and some lazy Seals were spread out on the log booms.
As we returned to the dog park a group of swans flew over with one that was decidedly smaller, a Tundra Swan , what an end to the day.

That was our day, I wish you all a great time over the holidays and we will be back in the New Year.

Photo Credits
Cowichan Bay Swans by Derrick Marven
Swans in flight by Barry Hetschko
Skiing Golden-crowned Sparrow by Barry Hetschko
Great Blue Heron by Zan Stenhouse
Snowy Owl by Zan Stenhouse
Tundra and Trumpeter swans in flight by Zan Stenhouse