Today just 5 counters turned up on this wonderful winter day, the sun shone and the temperature was great, what more could a swan and goose counter ask for, well. Not 1 but a flock of Snow Geese, not 1 but a flock of Great White-fronted Geese, not 1 but flocks of Trumpeter Swans, we did only have 1 American Kestrel though this week.
It is strange when you try to fit 3 people in the back of one of the SUVs which all advertising tells you it is a 5 passenger vehicle, what they don’t tell you is that this does not count for 3 adults dressed for winter with only two weeks past all the Christmas cheer inside them. Did I mention stuffing, well if you could have seen the state that our rear passengers got into with seatbelts today, all that advertising is false. Poor Dorothy was in tears with laughter as she tried relentlessly to insert her seatbelt into who knows where, Jane had to get out for fear of being speared with this mettle clip. Eric on the other hand was strapped in and was not going to budge out of his bit of space. Barry had to set the child locks in fear that the doors would burst open on a bend.
Back to the birds, my day always starts by checking Quamichan Lake for swans Geese and Eagles before heading to the dog park and this morning i was lucky to see two Ruddy Ducks somewhat close, this species has been in short supply this year. I was even lucky to see a couple of Barrow’s Goldeneye out on the lake.
Barry found out on his walk this morning that the art of Ti Che is enhanced if you have a can of Black label to quench your thirst.
This week saw a drop in numbers for Trumpeter Swans and Canada Geese as the fear of bad weather subsided and birds returned to other pastures. What we got in return was 28 Snow Geese and 15 Greater White-fronted Geese, what a surprise it was to see the 14 speckled bellies which had earlier flown out of Somenos Marsh as witnessed by Barry. The other single bird was up on Hwy 18 with a flock of swans and geese. It was so nice to see such a wonderful flock of waterfowl off of St.Catherine’s Drive although distance was a problem for me as trying to distinguish little white geese from big white swans was hard as the kept moving about.
Earlier when we passed Somenos Marsh a Northern Shrike was sitting right close to the road, sadly Barry was accelerating back into traffic and it was too late to stop for a photo shoot.
We did manage to get back for our break with all intact and the sound of relief as the airlocks were released and the three scrunchies fell out. Then they started eating again and we went through the whole procedure of the seatbelt saga again.
Most of the big numbers of eagles were gone as all raptors appeared to be thinking of other things in this very unseasonable weather, we failed miserably with no accipiters and if it weren’t for our American Kestrel we wouldn’t have had any falcons. We were lucky at Dinsdale’s Farm as we watched a Short-eared Owl and a immature Northern Harrier have a argy-bargy over territory. Too far away for any pictures.
Off the Dock Road we witnessed a pair of Trumpeter Swans come down the river and pass another going the other way, funny they just kept going their own ways with just a small trumpet to say hello?
At the end of the day we had recorded Trumpeter Swans # 456 Canada Goose # 1279 White-fronts # 15 Snow Goose # 28, we all went home well pleased for what we had achieved on this glorious day.
There will be another short video added to the facebook pages of the Cowichan Valley naturalists and the Somenos Marsh groups. It was taken from Westholme Road looking across to the island highway at Quist’s farm
Barry Hetschko Red-tailed Hawks
Barry Hetschko Tai chi
Derrick Marven Ruddy Duck
Derrick Marven American Coot
Derrick Marven lazy day Trumpeter Swans