It was one of those days when you leave home and you think am i dressed properly, well for sure some of us weren’t as the wind and cold went right down to the bones. It was nice when the seven of us were riding around in the two vehicles with the heater on, but get out and wow!
Barry had already found a few goodies by the time we left and so we had to improve on his finds. The school football pitch along Beverly had two nice Snow Geese mixed in with some Canada’s – one was an immature and the other almost an adult, more than likely last years youngun. On the golf driving range we found our first neck collared goose of the season and after closer inspection Zan spotted that it had leg a band also and the one next to it also had a leg band but no neck collar. We quickly moved on getting more geese along the way and at Somenos Lake we got our first Bald Eagles to add to the Red-tailed Hawk and Peregrine Falcon that Barry had spotted. We would have had a nice picture of the Red-tail in flight but Barry’s computer crashed under the weight of all those bird pictures he takes. Along the Highway we found the first American Kestrel of the day sitting in the exhibition grounds, I think this could be the same bird from last year back to gather in the produce that assorted barns have to offer. At Quist’s Farm the 5 Greater White-fronted Geese from last week were still present and a good flock of American Wigeon. Along Westholme Road we got our first sitting Trumpeters to add to the four seen flying over Somenos flats and along Richards Trail another 74 Trumpeters with our first immatures of the day, it is good to see these birds back in this location. That was it until we hit Herd Road and another 33 Trumpeters and 300 Canada Geese were added along with a nice assortment of ducks with some snazzy Northern Shovellers showing well. Our next American Kestrel was on Tom Windsor Drive a long ways off down the hydro line. There really was not much else for the first half so we broke for a rest and huddled in the car park of A&W waiting for our new driver senior Derrick who I’m afraid has no sense of time or cold. It was nice to have our senior friend along this week for the full circuit although his spotting of many leaf birds was a cause of some concern. Back on the road one vehicle doing Boys and the other doing Sahilton, there were less Bald Eagles than last week this was enhanced by two really dark almost black immatures, I personally have never seen such dark birds almost melanistic in appearance with just a few white blotches. Over we went to the west side and a few eagles were up and floating around sadly the photographers were not so energetic in getting out. Just a single swan was seen until we hit the end of Koksilah Road west and here we saw 8 Trumpeters in a field where we have never had them before so this was a nice surprise. One real funny sighting along the road was this big truck with a very long aluminum bridge on a big trailer. it passed us twice, I made the remark that it was the York Road–Somenos Creek bridge looking for a new owner.
Up on Bench Road a nice group of 45 swans were way down the field and a Merlin sat up on Wilson Road the same spot where last week it sat. Funny how you learn that some birds have a pattern for feeding and hang out at the same places week after week, like it is their personal larder. Dougan’s Flats gave us our second Merlin and it was here that I found myself in trouble again as I thought it was a female Kestrel, the others put their foot down and I found myself floundering. Mrs.Marshall, the local head mistress, tweaked my ear and made me apologize to the other car. Oh! I bet she was bossy when she teached and had some good nicknames.
On St.Catherine’s we had just two swans and nothing else not even a dickie bird. We then after a few geese found ourselves down on Koksilah Road east where a good 300 Canada Geese were browsing and just around the corner on Wilmott Road was a lovely Northern Shrike which dragged me out of the truck for some snaps while senior Derrick and Kurlene caused chaos by blocking the road. If there are any readers held up during the road block please accept our apologies. A good Northern Shrike picture is hard to come by especially one that seems to come back to this location year after year. Down through Cowichan Bay and a few more eagles were added and four Mute Swans. By the time we got to the Dock Road the wind was blowing and small whitecaps were coming across the bay, so we didn’t dally long and headed for home. The other car had just got a Northern Harrier way over the field to help our good hawk and eagle numbers.
Back home to a nice hot drink and warm fire.
Snow Geese by Zan Stenhouse
Banded Canada Geese by Zan Stenhouse
American Kestrel by Zan Stenhouse
Bald Eagles by Kurlene Wenberg
Black Bald Eagle by Derrick Marven
Northern Shrike by Derrick Marven
wearing the dunces cap