Swan & Goose Count, March 13th 2019

Great blue heron

Trumpeter swans in flight

Bald eagles in flight

Trumpeter swans

Downy woodpecker

Red-tailed hawk

Trumpeter swans ready to migrate

Female Brewer’s blackbird

Tree swallow

Immature bald eagle



Friends, It is a hard life being a Swan and Goose count leader, you have to make sure that the right people are in the right vehicles and that we have all the gear required to ride around in a nice warm car on a nippy spring morning, for the most part our group knows exactly what to do and are ready to go right on the dot of 10am then sometimes there is a little hiccup when one group decides to change cars and all the gear that was loaded into one car has to reloaded into another. This makes a delay of a few minutes which in birding times can make a hit or miss if you are going after a good bird. This week we saw a new counter who came all the way from Victoria, yes they know about us down in the big city. Emma is our newest and youngest counter and it was nice to see a fresh face on the count. Also this week one of the counters decided that winter was over and arrived in full summer plumage complete with shorts, socks and sandals, such a hardy fellow. After enduring a full day out in the sunshine watching birds and having a laugh with my friends I then have to try and remember all that had taken place that day and try to put into words which people tell me that they wait in anticipation of the weeks report. I do try my hardest but so much happens during each count my poor old brain can’t retain it all. I then have to go through all the pictures submitted and try get put together the full report. I have to put all the numbers into the spreadsheet and get them ready after all this my wife wonders why I have a little nap after dinner in the chair in front of the telly. Not bad I think for a guy that finished bottom of the class each year in secondary school.
This week saw the departure of some of our swans and geese, not sure when they left but we were down to just half of last week’s numbers and with the forecast of hot and sunny weather for this weekend we could find ourselves wanting for the last two counts. We counted #311 Trumpeters and 1 Tundra Swan along with just #670 Canada Geese which was almost half of last weeks total, we did manage to find 23 Snow Geese at Dougan’s Flats and 43 Ruddy Ducks at Somenos Lake. Also at Drinkwater Road 2 male and a female Downy Woodpecker were having a chase around. At the old golf driving range we had a pair of Northwestern Crows who definitely were ready for spring as they were copulating right in front of the stands, no shame in the bird world I’m afraid.
Raptor numbers were good with # 45 Bald Eagles, 11 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Peregrine Falcon only seen by Barry and our first Turkey Vultures of the season with their telltale gliding flight making them easy to pick out. To make sure spring had finally sprung we saw several Tree Swallows with one already sat up on a nest box at Somenos Marsh. This weekend should see a major influx of many swallows. Another little flight master who should turn up this weekend should be the Rufous Hummingbird who has already hit feeders down in Washington State.
We tried hard to find the Elk for Emma but the beasts must have been hiding back in the woods as they were a no show. We did mange to show her plenty of ducks along Lakes Road and a nice display by by Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawk who put the fear into the poor duckies who took flight across the wet fields.
Most of the Swans and Geese were in the west and south end of our count which is what we have found in the latter days of their stay over previous years, not sure why only the birds know.
All in all it was a good day, weather was fine as we have become accustomed to getting on a Wednesday, will we make it through the last tw counts without getting a few rain drops, we will see.
Big thanks to the drivers and to Dorothy who keeps the tally up to date. Those photographers excelled this week so a bumper crop for you to enjoy.
Until next week.

Photo Credits
female Brewer’s Blackbird by Derrick Marven
give us a kiss on the cheek Mallard by Derrick Marven
immature Bald Eagle by Zan Stenhouse
Tree Swallow by Zan Stenhouse
Swans getting ready for migration by Zan Stenhouse
soaring Red-tailed Hawk by Zan Stenhouse
Downy Woodpecker by Barry Hetschko
Take off Swans by Barry Hetschko
Eagles in flight by Denny Wagg
Swans in flight by Denny Wagg
Great Blue Heron by Denny Wagg