Swan & Goose count Dec.5th 2018

Bottoms up


Two resting trumpeter swans


Song sparrow


Red-tailed hawk


Male tree


Trumpeter swans in front of Mount Tzouhalem


Trumpeter swan family group


red-tailed hawk eyeing Barry


Northern shrike

Some parts (no pun) of this report are of a mature nature, viewer discretion is advised, no giggling.

Today we were 8 counters and we had a new participant today, Jan who came to the valley from the sunshine coast and what wonderful weather she brought us, brilliant sunshine all the way. Yes it was a tad nippy to start and it was time to discard the thongs and sandals and get out the woolly knickers and big boots.
We had ups and downs today with Swans going up and Eagles going down, we even had a nice dark Peregrine Falcon today which made me get out the scope for a better look as it was a long way off. This was possibly of the “Peales” variety and a dark immature. We even found a Peregrine with no head sitting in a tree. Sadly the Bald Eagles are departing us as the salmon run has ended and their food source is depleted.
I have to say that our Trumpeter Swan numbers may not be correct as we think that maybe the farmer chased a large group off the fields up on Bench just after we had counted them, many of which descended into Cowichan Bay We can never be sure with the birds getting disturbed and flying into a new locations, let’s just say that the numbers are in keeping from previous years and next week will hopefully set the numbers straight. I say we had we had 327 Trumpeters today, so if it’s wrong you can blame me, but that’s what I counted. Once again immature birds were in low numbers with just 29 but we are heading in the right direction.
Several Deer were seen today and even a herd of Goats, a Muscovy Duck for those who want to pad their lifelists was up on Richards Trail and several other sundry farm animals were observed.
One of the best sightings of the day was as we sped along Herd Road and Barry saw a nice Red-tailed Hawk sitting on the corner of Norcross Road, with the ease of a racing car driver Barry took the turn and we were faced with a lovely pale Red-tail Hawk, we don’t get that many opportunities to see one as pale as this. We did get a nice male American Kestrel this week, overall our numbers for Raptors was down.
A lot of still water was frozen and fields were white which made the ducks huddle into small groups, with Richards Trail an exception. Out in Cowichan Bay the numbers of diving ducks remain low. We did encounter 3 Killdeer at Quist’s Farm
We saw Trumpeter Swans in 13 different locations today which was a nice surprise and another good sighting was 3 Greater White-fronted Geese up on Bench Road and 5 Cackling Geese were added to our totals today from two different locations.
Many strange things are seen on our journey around the valley and there are many things to be learned, we all know that in most cases their has to be a male and female species for the said species to survive and I was lucky to see for the first time a male tree, it was a very mature tree, I had never noticed this before even though we have stopped at this location on every count, just amazing what you can catch on camera.
We all had a great day and I for one had a bit of a red face when I got home from the sun, such a wonderful day with my good friends the Swan and Goose counters.
Big thanks to Kurlene and Barry for driving us around and our sponsors the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society
Sorry but there are lot’s of pictures this week.


Photo Credits,
Northern Shrike by Barry Hetschko
Red-tailed Hawk eyeing up Barry Hetschko
Male tree by Derrick Marven
Trumpeter Swans in front of Mt Tzouhalem by Derrick Marven
family group of 3 by Derrick Marven
Pale Red-tailed Hawk by Derrick Marven
Song Sparrow by Zan Stenhouse
Resting Swans by Zan Stenhouse
Bottom up by Zan Stenhouse