Swan & Goose count Mar.14th 2018

Eurasian wigeons

Bald eagle

Red-tailed hawk

Hooded merganser

Resting trumpter swan

Northern shrike

Anna’s hummingbird

If I was to predict the number of Swans and Geese that we would find today on the count like the weathermen predicted the weather I would have ended up with egg on my face. 80% chance of rain they said and what did we get, one of the best days of sunshine and temperature of the season. I am just glad I’m a naturalist and leaving the weather to the gods and my ever improving “stop the rain dance”.
We left the dog park with two cars and 6 people and by half time we had 3 cars and 9 people. I have to admit we got a little behind on the early part of the circuit due mainly the fault of a Red-tailed Hawk who sat beside the road wanting us to count and photograph it, well spotted by Jane. Me being a sucker for such things obliged by getting out the vehicle and wandering back up Westholme Road. Just before this there was the Eurasian Wigeon at Quist’s Farm which had a female with him this week, now if you look at your field guides you will note that this is not a easy bird to identify and showing the counters this bird which was 200 yards across a field in among about 100 other American cousins well I would like to see a weatherman perform with this task. Big thanks to Zan for capturing this picture of the two.
This week we lost a good number of adult Swans they getting the jump on the supposedly torrent of rain, just 397 adults, surprisingly we had 87 immature, which went up. Eagle numbers were stable and 8 Red-tailed Hawks was a good number for the year. The Canada Goosies who are already pairing up were right on target at 822 with Dougan’s Flats once again having the big flock at 400 birds. Only 3 Mute Swans in Cowichan Bay as their numbers continue to drop. We had one flyover Falcon off Cherry Point Road and a nice Northern Harrier along the Dock Road. 2 Northern Shrikes this week, they should be leaving us any minute. We saw several Anna’s Hummingbirds today, one being very obliging at Somenos Lake.
Disaster struck us at our lunch stop where we found A&W closed off as repairs were underway, many people driving up in their cars only to find the car park blocked off. Were they going to go and suffer hormones and steroids at one of the other fast food joints? I would watch out on the roads tomorrow if this bunch are out on the highway. One of our own was in tears, what was she going to do without her Buddy Burger and fries? She had to be consoled with a bowl of what I can only describe as expensive leftovers from another local eatery.
Back to birds, it was now way past some of our snooze time and with not much to show on our tally sheet we were off to Boys and Sahilton Roads where we found the fields bare of any birds and only a Red-tailed Hawk as consolation. Over to Koksilah Road west and the same thing no big white birds. Barry had now made up all the lost time as we sped over to Bench Road only to find just 15 Trumpeters, Wilson Rad was empty except for a nice flock of piggies which always brings a smile to my face as I love these guys. Dougan’s Flats had all the geese and not a single swan. Back over the Hwy. to St.Catherine’s Drive where we were aghast to see Swans all over, Barry maneuvered the vehicle into several positions for me to count. I have to admit I must have missed some behind the trees and with the ever whitening immature birds in bright sunlight, well you try and spot them. This stop had saved our bacon, I did mention I love pigs didn’t I ? Cherry Point Road added a few more swans and then Koksilah Road east came through with another 56 birds, they weren’t dancing this week. I now think that the dancing of last week was maybe some saying goodbye to those who left, one usually has a little party for those departing.
We hit Cowichan Bay where the breeze reminded us that we were not out of the woods yet, as a Northern Harrier used the wind to glide and weave across the estuary.
That was it’ we were now down to just two more remaining counts, so if you’re going to come you better jump to it.


Photo Credits
Anna’s Hummingbird by Barry Hetschko
Northern Shrike by Barry Hetschko
Resting Trumpeter by Derrick Marven
Hooded Merganser by Derrick Marven
Red-tailed Hawk by Derrick Marven
Bald Eagle by Zan Stenhouse
Eurasian Wigeons by Zan Stenhouse