Today was world woman’s day and we were joined by 4 lovely ladies for our count and to keep with equality there were also 4 men. This week we managed to just keep in front of the winter weather, you could see the snow coming down around the hills, but for us it kept its distance. It was not until our last stop did some light rain would catch up with us.
Our numbers for swans and geese were much the same as the last couple of weeks, but the raptors once again took a knock, we did find a American Kestrel in a new location on Hwy 18 so all was not lost.
We searched high and low for a couple of Pink-footed Geese that have been in the valley for a few days but they eluded us on this day.
Our first stop was the Golf Driving range on Beverly Street and right in front of us was a 1st winter Glaucous Gull which has been around in many locations for a few weeks now, quickly many pictures were taken before we moved on.
Somenos Marsh was slow as was the lake, just the local goose flocks were seen. We quickly made our way up the highway gaining a few Bald Eagles on the way until we got to Quist’s Farm and our first good numbers of swans.
This week we run at about 25% ratio of adults to immature which was nice.
As sometimes happens the lead car gave the slip to the others on a couple of occasions, week after week I tell them to keep up, but you know these photographers, they don’t listen, they see a photo op and everything else goes out the window.
Numbers along Westholme Road and Richards Trail were poor and it was not until we reached the rest stop at Hwy 18 did we start to get some good numbers, it was here that Barry spotted the Kestrel far off on a hydro wire. Now if I’m not mistaken, you know how my old memory disc is lately, the Kestrel is possibly the fourth falcon species that we have had at this location along with a Coopers Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle, maybe some of you should take a little rest here now and again and just relax with your binoculars and take in the sights.
We finally found ourselves at A&W a bit late and all the rugrats from the school had invaded which forced two of our group to get back in the vehicle and go through the drive-through for quicker service, this all took time and we were late leaving; good job Dorothy was not with us as we would have had to finish off all her cookies this week.
Along Boys Road we went with still not much to be seen, a Red-tailed Hawk and a immature Bald Eagle were counted and only 2 Canada Geese. Over to Sahilton and Corfield Roads managed to get us 35 Swans and that was it
Koksilah Road west came up with another 30+ Trumpeters and a few Geese before we gave the slip on the ladies as we went up Riverside Road without letting them know and the along Koksilah past Bench where we scored a few Swans before catching up with the ladies who to my amazement had counted the Bench Road flock, well done girls.
This past weeks we have encountered on several occasions a single swan all be itself in a field and for the second time on Wilson Road a single bird was had all by his lonesome. Dougan’s Flats had a big flock of geese and a few swans, one which we thought was a bucket until it put it’s head up.
We did encounter a few molting deer this week who’s coats looked a lot like an old fur coat that my dear old mum used to put down for the dog now and again.
Over to St.Catherine’s Road where just 3 swans were waiting to be counted along with some White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, all the California Quail have seemed to have vanished, I think they’ve had enough of this off and on again winter.
Things were now starting to hot up as we reached Telegraph Road and Cherry Point Road with good large flocks of swans and by the time we left over 200 Trumpeter Swans were added to our list, sadly the Pink-footed Geese were nowwhere to be seen, much to the annoyance of one of our party who it seems has been unable to find these birds.
Koksilah Road east added two handfuls of swans and then it was off down to Dinsdale’s Farm for our last big count of the day, over 200 Canada Geese and one lonely Cackler were seen and the first spits of rain was starting.
The Dock Road was chilly and just two Mute Swans and 4 Trumpeters were seen before all counters bundled back in the vehicles as a adult Bald Eagle sat on the osprey platform with a bit of a smirk on its face.
The rain was now getting more than a few drops as the hills around us had a lovely coating of snow, we were just glad that we had stayed in front of the nasty weather for most of the day.
There are now only 3 more counts for the season before both us and the swans get the boot and it awaits us in a field along our route.
Glaucous Gull by Kurlene Wenberg
Squiggle by Barry Hetschko
Getting the boot by Zan Stenhouse
Trumpeter Swans by Zan Stenhouse
Bald Eagle by Christina Cutbill
Mt. Prevost by Barry Hetschko
From Comox Valley: This weeks Trumpeter tally was 950 adults and 203 juveniles for a total of 1153. In comparison, the total tally for the same period in 2016 was 1553 swans.