It was literally a real swine of a day, the numbers dwindled, the sun and heat was unbearable and we never really saw any good birds to take pictures of. We knew that the Trumpeters would leave eventually but it is always sad to see them go as they have brightened our lives for the past 19 weeks. I wonder where all the Canada Geese went as i saw plenty leaving Somenos early in the morning, wherever they were we never got them. One of the regular spots had a tractor riding around in it, maybe the were not into old noisy Fordson’s.
7 counters left the dog park a little late as one member was up the road chasing a White-throated Sparrow, this migrant species has been scarce this winter.
Hawk and Eagle numbers were pretty much the same with 9 Red-tailed hawks equaling our season high total. Several pairs of Bald Eagles were seen around nest sites and 3 Turkey Vultures were a sure sign that they are on the move. A couple of Cooper’s Hawks, a Merlin and a far off American Kestrel rounded off the raptor count.
I did hear (yes I heard) both Dark-eyed Junco’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers singing and those Red-winged Blackbirds, well they started a couple of weeks ago. A Red-tailed Hawk made a kamikaze dive from about a 1000′ way down to who knows where, I think he had a girlfriend down there some where and he was just showing off.
The star of the day was Barry’s dear mom who came along just to see what we had corrupted her son into doing, of course she was very impressed that we had taken him under our wings and keeping him out of trouble. I can now see where Barry gets his pleasant personality from. It was a shame that we did not have more birds to show her or one of our weekly stunners.
Trumpeter Swan numbers were as follows, adults 178, immature 22 and 4 Mute Swans, add to this just 278 Canada Geese. I am guessing that by next week most of these birds will be gone.
A nice Cooper’s Hawk sat out in the open for about 5 seconds much to the annoyance of the photographers. It was left up to the four-legged critters for me to get a good picture, along Richard’s Trail the lambs were having a little nap with mum and down on Wilson’s Road Barry spotted a couple of lovely ladies wallowing behind a house, these big beauties were being fed some freshly cut grass by the owner of the property and I asked Barry to stop so that I could take a picture. The owner was a very nice lady who allowed me onto her property, I took several shots and as I was about to leave she beckoned me behind the barn. Unaccustomed of me going with a lady behind a barn I wondered what she had in mind, well to my surprise there was another mum back there with a few little ones, what a lovely little family they were with several different colors. As I left I asked the lady what the first two pregnant sows weighed and she said around 700 lbs a piece, wow that’s a lot of pig.
We moved on adding a few birds here and there and it was not long before we found ourselves along the Dock Road in Cowichan Bay and taking pictures of Mute Swans,. The wind was still a little nippy coming up the channel so we didn’t hang around long. Suddenly I spotted something in one of the roadside trees, put the bins up only to see a bare shaded branch, we inched forward and then there a singing Western Meadowlark, it stayed for a few seconds before it got disturbed by some young rugrats who seem to spend more time out of school than in it.
The doodlers following on behind in the second car missed the Meadowlark but got a Northern Shrike and a Northern Harrier.
We had done our best, sadly this time of year can leave us wanting for something better, give it a couple of weeks and the trees will be full of new and exciting migrants to keep the shutters working.
That was it our day was over and with just one more count for the season we hope that a few Swans remain to give Dorothy something to put on the sheet next week.
Piggies by Derrick Marven
Cuddly Lambs by Derrick Marven
Soaring Bald Eagle by Zan Stenhouse
White-throated Sparrow by Zan Stenhouse
Tree Swallows by Barry Hetschko
Cooper’s Hawk by Barry Hetschko