Today ended the tenth season of our count and with sunny weather that we have come to expect every Wednesday. 8 counters set out from the dog park in two cars, this week we were missing our good friend Barry and our thoughts were with him today on what could be our last Swan and Goose count.
What made this day special was that this was the highest count of Trumpeter Swans recorded on the last day of any season ever with #260 adults and #51 immature, what has made these birds stay so long, well warmland hospitality with good food and friendly people, also the cold snap might have had something to do with it, putting back their feeding, as you may know they have to build up fats for the flight north especially the immature birds.
Our raptor numbers took a hit this week with immature eagle numbers and Red-tailed Hawks making the biggest drop. Again this week we were treated to a Peregrine Falcon showing other species that it weren’t going to be pushed around as it jousted non stop with a bunch of Ravens which attacked and were attacked right above Westholme Road for all to see, well the ones that got out of the vehicles anyways.
We think we spied a big black Bear in a field as we drove by on the west side of town and a Muskrat sat in a ditch until the silly leader pointed too it out the window where upon it dived under the water just as Zan was about to take it’s portrait. Another strange sight today was a cow patty spotted by our resident patty specialist, she’s good at seeing them, having been a regular at A&W, this one was covered in a bright orange/brown flies who seemed to be enjoying this quarter pounder. We saw Killdeer and a few sundry dickie birds, this has been the case from previous weeks passerines have been in low numbers. We got good looks at a Northern Shrike and at the wet fields on Herd Road I tentatively counted over 300 Northern Shoveller, this has to be the largest congregated flock in Canada at this time of year, a wonderful sight along with many other duck species. This area has been especially good to us this year. One of the last birds of the day was our first of the season Rufous Hummingbird on the wires along the Dock Road.
We were lucky to find two Tundra Swans again this week both of which I don’t think we have encountered before after looking and comparing photo’s from previous years. While we were admiring the Tundra Dorothy’s eyes were a wandering and she came on the walkie-talkie to say, you do know there’s a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a post opposite you car, a wonderful specimen it was, as soon as it saw Kurlene’s camera it took off, guess like an ex teacher we also need eyes in the back of our heads.
With the last report comes lot’s of pictures for your enjoyment.
I want to thank all our team for all the good work and fun that we have had over the years, especially Eric and Dorothy who have been on the count since day one, Kurlene, Zan Jane, and Barry and all the dozens of others who have given up time to come out and join us. Big thanks to the drivers who have kept us safe over the years and who have obeyed my every command, well most of the time.
This year saw us get some sponsorship from the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society who gave us a grant for gas, we thank them big time for their kindness. We have over the ten years put a great deal of money in the pockets of the gas giants and our governments. This is one of the reasons that I am not sure whether we will continue as the costs are becoming prohibitive. There are many other ways for us to spend our sunny Wednesdays without using our vehicles so much and still collect some good data for other important bird projects and locations around the valley. Somenos Marsh, Quamichan Lake and Cowichan Bay could all do with a regular citizen science data collection Wednesday.
We as a group will discuss what we are going to do, but be sure there will be many reports coming to you what ever we decide and as long as my fingers work.
Northern Shrike by Kurlene Wenberg
Anna’s Hummingbird by Kurlene Wenberg
Trumpeter Swan with a lump by Zan Stenhouse
Raven and Peregrine Falcon by Zan Stenhouse
Flying Wigeon by Zan Stenhouse
Rufous Hummingbird by Zan Stenhouse
Red-tailed Hawk by Denny Wagg
Canada Geese by Denny Wagg
Tundra Swan by Derrick Marven
Cow patty and flies by Derrick Marven
Belted Kingfisher by Derrick Marven
Goodbye to the swans by Derrick Marven