Swan & Goose Count Jan.10th 2018

Red-tailed Hawk


American Kestrel


Pileated Woodpecker


Trumpeter Swans & Ring-necked Ducks


Muddy Trumpter Swans


Attack by American Kestrel


Greater White-fronted Goose

Today was a real pain in the butt, literally, the rain that was forecast never happened, there were great birds all over and we hit a 5 year high for Trumpeter Swans. Back to this pain in the butt, I was suffering today with a terrible lower back pain and could hardly walk, Barry being the gentleman that he is even brought my scope to me while I leaned up against the vehicle to count the swans. Zan on the other hand thought that we had a touch of a breath problem and plied us with breath mints and Jane being the newby brought along some Christmas cookies. Elizabeth did a great job on the walkie-talkie.
5 counters left the dog park and we were quickly counting Canada Geese at the school and the golf driving range. Strangely this week the geese numbers took a major dive and we could only find 617, down almost a quarter. The Trumpeter Swans on the other hand came at us in near record numbers with just under 700 counted, we have never reached these numbers since the spring of 2013. Eagle numbers were down as is expected at this time of year.
When we got to Somenos Lake we were greeted by a nice Pileated Woodpecker trying it’s hardest to top this cottonwood tree, be interesting to see if next week if the top of this tree which is home to nesting swallows in the spring has any top left on it. Out on the lake Barry spotted three little ducks with their tails turned up, these were the first Ruddy Ducks that we have encountered this season. A few swans were added and we headed off up the highway. Funny we had just mentioned about the Kestrel not being around lately and there he was sitting on top of the flagpole at the exhibition grounds. As Barry was taking it’s picture a Red-tailed Hawk came in from behind and chased the Kestrel off the pole, well the American Kestrel took offense to this and went after the Red-tail which by this time had landed in a small tree, the Kestrel dive bombed the larger bird and squealed his annoyance at being disturbed from hunting, all the time Barry had the camera on rapid fire as we called out here it comes again. Such fun to watch as nature showed us one of it’s wonders.
Down to Quist’s farm where good numbers of birds were awaiting our counting and by the time we left we had added over 130 swans to our ever growing list. Along Westholme Road we saw some resident Eurasian Collared-Doves, a Great Blue Heron and sundry dickie birds. Richards Trail was next and a nice flock of Canada Geese contained one Great White-fronted Goose which gave us good photo opportunities. You could easily see why hunters call these adult birds speckled bellies. Somehow we went into some sort of time lapse as we totally forgot to go up Herd Road and found ourselves on Tom Windsor Drive counting geese, so we could have missed a few birds with that miss.
Today we had a new guest Elizabeth along with us and we were hoping to show her some Elk, but not this week I’m afraid.
After the break we headed over to the Boys and Sahilton Road area and the latter came through with a nice flock of swans with what appeared to be a possible family group of Tundra swans with one adult and two immature, there well could have been more out there but the birds were busy feeding with some swans having so much mud on their bills it was hard to tell what species they were. We left having counted over 130 birds. On the west side we found another large flock of swans near the corn fields on Koksilah Road, this is always a awkward spot to count made even harder this week as I hobbled back up the hill with the scope with Barry in tow in case I collapsed half way up. When all was said and done another 125+ Trumpeters were added and I’m sure many were lurking back behind the trees out of our prying eyes. Working on a tip we headed up Riverside Road and found a small flock of 18 swans and a strange bird walking up a field and as we got closer it turned out to be a Northern Flicker going for a stroll, acting more like a Green Woodpecker from the old country who spend a lot of time on the ground. On and around to Bench where way down the field a small group of 30+ swans were having a kick around. Dougan’s Flats was once again void of any birds, not sure whats going on out there but Barry spotted a funny looking thing out in the fields which closely resembled a hunting blind. Off we went to St Catherine’s and oh my what were all those white things down in the field. Once again I was propped up against the Jeep with the scope counting the crowds of swans and geese. 184 swans and 100 geese later and we were heading off down the road. Koksilah Road had a handful of swans for the first time in a while.
Dinsdale’s Farm like Dougan’s Flats was lacking any birds at all so it was left up to the Dock Road to give us our final additions with 25 Trumpeters and a few Mute Swans.
That was it great time with a great group of friends and still no rain at the end, couldn’t be better.

Photo Credits
Greater White-fronted Goose by Derrick Marven
Attack by the American Kestrel by Barry Hetschko
Muddy Trumpeter by Derrick Marven
Trumpeters and Ring-necked Ducks by Barry Hetschko
Pileated Woodpecker by Zan Stenhouse
American Kestrel by Zan Stenhouse
Red-tailed Hawk by Zan Stenhouse

in severe pain