Swan & Goose count Feb.14th 2018

Immature Red-tailed hawk


Western gull


Trumpeter swans

Trumpeter swans

Trumpeter swans

Ring-necked duck flying

Norwegian Fjord ponies

Neck collar 071F

It was Wednesday and of course the weather was just perfect with sunny skies and great visibility. In spite of this Barry and I were left out in the cold on this Valentines day as we were the only counters to turn up. We had purchased Valentines day chocolates and cards for our lady friends but we were left high and dry on this day of record numbers of Trumpeter Swans. We did meet up with our good friends Dorothy and Eric at lunch but by this time we had eaten all the chocolates and stashed the cards for next year. Trumpeter Swans at 730 was a new high for the season and for several years and the Canada Geese sank back down to 839, they seem to go up and down each week, maybe the extra goose hunting days were to blame for this drop in numbers this time. Raptor numbers were about the same with all accipiters gone from our eyes except one bird that shot over Tom Windsor Drive that had to be registered as just a hawk species, it had a long tail though.
I was a bit late this morning as when I was supposed to be counting birds at Quamichan Lake I ended up taking pictures of gulls and I know how much you like gulls so I have added a picture to keep you happy.
Just like last week birds were spread out all over the area with hot spots being Quist’s Farm, Bench Road and the Sahilton / Corfield Road areas. I can’t say that we saw any good birds except one lovely immature Red-tailed Hawk which is very rare in winter in our area. I think I could count on one hand how many I have seen in 30 years of birding on Vancouver Island. We of course took many pictures of the very co-operative bird. For the most part the swans were far off and with the immatures now starting to turn white I have to admit I couldn’t see any Tundra Swans among the white flocks, that doesn’t mean there were none there though.
I was glad that Dorothy took over the data writing as I am not that good and multi tasking three things at once, I need my eyes fixed on what is sitting in the trees although Barry has a sharp eye for spotting all sorts of things.
We did try and take a nice picture of a pair of Dorothy’s favorite ponies, they were more intent on feeding than posing for the camera.
Without our ladies to take pictures we were now suffering with just a few shots between us, it was time to take some swan pictures because that’s what we are all about. We did manage a nice closeup of Canada Goose number 071F on the golf driving range and there were also several geese with leg bands having discarded their neck collars during these hot spring days. It has been mentioned that the glue came unstuck on the collars and they fell off.
We managed a nice Merlin along Cowichan Bay Road which was our only Falcon. It was again slow for passerines but I did mange to pish up a good smattering of mixed species on St. Catherine’s Road with the now breeding plumage’s of the House Finch’s standing out in the cottonwood. Do you know that spellcheck does not know what a passerine is or a pish, who put this thing together, definitely not a bird scholar.
Our day was done and I was feeling a bit sick after eating all those chocolates. So it was off home to spend the rest of the day with my number one Valentine, when I arrived she informed me that a Northern Shrike was sitting in the climbing rose bush, alas it was too late and it flew before the camera could get out of the bag.

Photo Credits
Flying Ring-necked Duck by Barry Hetschko
My little Ponies by Barry Hetschko
071F by Barry Hetschko
Merlin by Brry Hetschko
immature Red-tailed Hawk by Derrick Marven
Western Gull by Derrick Marven
Swans by all of us.

Enjoy our Spring