Swan & Goose count Feb.8th 2018

Trumpeter swan

Injured trumpeter being rescued

Northern shrike

Tundra swans


Anna’s humingbird

Great blue heron


Sheep and lambs

Northern pintail

Such lucky counters to be out on a day when the weather man said rain and it didn’t happen, just overcast, which is just how I like it for counting birds. Big crowd this week as 10 people showed up; the word as gone around that we are having to much fun with citizen science.
The Trumpeter Swans were spread out right across our area today with most spots showing white. Raptors were as usual with a nice American Kestrel and a Merlin to add.
We also saw one poor Trumpeter Swan that appeared to have hit hydro lines on Modeste Road and a nice couple were there attending the poor bird and had already sent out for the recovery troops from the Falconry Center and as we left they had retrieved the bird, well done to all involved.
Did you know that Richards Trail area is one of the best spots for seeing different types of Raptors we are now up to 6 different species for the season. One thing I have tried so hard to embed into the counters is the use of adult or immature, some have learned but others continue to say mature and immature, now for someone who is a little mutton jeff, that’s deaf to you valley people that sounds the same and I have to ask what was that, hopefully they will all come around to help this old boy out.
Signs of spring were all over with lambs a bleeting, Winter Aconites and Snowdrops in full bloom, this is far removed from this date last year when we were under some deep snow in the valley.
This weeks count saw an increase in Trumpeter Swans and some Tundras to add to our lists. Canada Geese were stable and several species of Ducks were seen including a nice Eurasian Wigeon at Quist’s Farm. Northern Pintail seem to be very absent so far this year so it was nice to see a few closeup on Westholme Road. Here I forced the others to endure a bit of Gull watching as I needed to get some pictures of Mew Gulls for my friends back east. Another suspect Gull was along the Dock Road which quickly got my attention sadly it was too far away for a positive ID but it was big and dark backed; something gull nuts like to encounter.
One other species that we have had good luck with this year are Killdeer with more than 20 seen today in several spots. Barry manged a great photo of one at Somenos. We had two Northern Shrikes this week and the trailing car got one on film.
Corfield Road had many swans and almost straight away I spotted an immature Tundra Swan standing close and at least two or possibly three adults, we have not had much luck locating these this year so this was nice surprise.
Most of the west side of town was still low in numbers with only Bench Road having a nice flock to count. Dougan’s Flats continued this week to be bare so we quickly headed east back over to St.Catherine’s where many Trumpeters were way down the field and a local Anna’s Hummingbird put on a show for some.
Cherry Point Road had nothing except a nice Northern Shrike for the car that was lagging behind and Koksilah Road east came through with both good flocks of Trumpeters and Canada Geese.
Down through the Cowichan Bay saw some local Cormorants out on the pilings. Earlier in the morning I witnessed a group of Great Blue Herons flying around in circles downtown over the stores, I wonder of they are getting ready for the upcoming season with some stick gathering and general buddy association.
The Dock Road gave us our first Mute Swans of the day and a handful of Trumpeters to complete our list. Several Bald Eagles were out on what appeared to be a very low tide, me thinks they were looking at gulls just like me.
We were done a great day to be outdoors with my friends. Lot’s of pictures this week so enjoy what these great people see.

Photo Credits
Spring Lambs by Eric Marshall
Red-breasted Sapsucker by Eric Marshall
Killdeer by Barry Hetschko
Great Blue Heron by Barry Hetschko
Annas Hummingbird by Kurlene Wenberg
Merlin by Kurlene Wenberg
Tundra Swan by Zan Stenhouse
Northern Shrike by Zan Stenhouse
Swan catchers by Zan Stenhouse
Excising Trumpeter by Derrick Marven

Northern pintail by Zan Stenhouse