Swan & Goose count, Jan. 3rd, 2018

Northern Shrike


Elk and geese


Muddy billed Trumpeter Swans


Western Meadowlark


Angry Bald Eagle


Odd Goose Out


014UK – collared Trumpeter Swan

Our first count of the new year was a little foggy but full of good birds and plenty of them with high numbers of Trumpeter Swans and good numbers of birds of prey.
8 people in two cars left the dog park with a new addition today as we were joined by Jane, her first S&G count, I believe she had a good time as she left a present behind in one of the vehicles.
At times today we were unable to see into the fields as mostly on the west side; you couldn’t see more than a few yards, the fog really didn’t lift until last thing which made it easy to see a few remaining birds in our last few spots.
We had an old friend, Trumpeter Swan with collar, and others with bills covered in mud, we had one whiter than the others and one dead swan feeding a hungry hoard of Eagles and Ravens at Quist’s Farm. We had a flying Greater White -fronted Goose who took up ice skating with it’s Canada and Cackling cousins on Somenos Lake. We also had 3 Northern Shrikes, a herd of Elk and a few assorted Gulls which did include a first winter Glaucous Gull. Barry got a Western Meadowlark just before the count along the Somenos Creek dike, a scarce bird for the Somenos area. Hawks were good with Coopers, Sharp-shinned, Red-tails, Merlin and Peregrine to add to our good total of Bald Eagles. All on all a wonderful January count, it was good to be out in the fresh winter air, good for clearing out all that holiday fuzz, I was personally glad that I didn’t have to walk far after just one days rest from the Christmas bird count, my legs were shot.
Trumpeter Swans reached new heights with over 450 counted and the Canada Geese decreased again down to 877. I am sure there were many more out there in the fog. A single Tundra Swan was mixed in the bunch at Quist’s Farm and at least two Killdeer were seen by at least one of us anyways. Star of the show today had to be at Somenos Lake where we found the neck banded Trumpeter Swan 01UK and below is what our good friend Peggy who keeps tabs on this bird had to say.
“She was banded Aug 3/ 2006” Age: “hatched in 2005 or earlier”
(For purposes of aging, swans are assumed to be hatched in June so she is at least 12 years 6 months old)
banded in Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge in western Alaska wetlands where there are no roads)

We first saw her in the Cowichan Valley north of Phipps Road in Feb/ 2011, it is amazing what we can learn from a single bird with a band.

The Elk were in their normal spot at the park and ride on Hwy18 and then from there onwards it became all foggy and that was not just me. Big thanks to my buddies for sticking with me for another year on this count. A another big thanks to Kurlene who went back up to Bench and managed to add a few more swans after the fog had lifted a bit.
A short report this week as I have got a massive load of entries to make for the Christmas Count

Photo Credits
Northern Shrike by Derrick Marven
Elk and Geese by Derrick Marven
muddy billed Swans by Barry Hetschko
Western Meadowlark by Barry Hetschko
angry Bald Eagle by Barry Hetschko
odd goose out by Zan Stenhous
01UK by Zan Stenhouse

Happy New Year