Hi to all you Swan enthusiasts
Today saw the start of the 12th annual Swan and Goose count and what a day it was with wonderful sunny skies and warm temperatures. Who would of thought that we would keep going for 12 years, just shows how powerful and loyal citizen science can be.8 counters turned up at the dog park some new and some old faces, but all young at heart. This year we have a sponsor in the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society who have kindly donated some gas money in these times of gouging at the pumps and we thank them with all our heart.
Today’s numbers were surprising with 22 Trumpeter Swans found, 15 Mute Swans many Canada Geese and Cackling Geese and 17 Snow Geese, this is one of the better starting day counts we had for a while. We also had a good number of Raptors with a nice male American Kestrel. Another big surprise was a Dragonfly sp. seen on Koksilah Road west, I think that just shows how warm it was at this late date in the fall. At this same location the bushes and trees have grown up blocking our view of the fields add to this lingering leaves and we could not identify a couple of white blobs in the far off field.
With this first count, photos were at a premium but I’m sure things will improve as time goes on. Barry was off testing water, which is no consolation for a good coffee.
Somenos Lake was very slow with hardly anything out on the water, we worked our way along, many Canada Geese at our first two or three stops and one immature Snow Goose at Quist’s farm. We next got Richard’s Trail where the fields were still dry, but it does look good for the winter counts. Our American Kestrel was sitting on the hydro wires and as we admired this lovely male it took off in a a fast dive across the fields and traveled about 100m and then hit the pasture and came up with what appeared to be a little vole which it took back to the wire for a quick snack. I was amazed that the bird traveled so far and could see this tiny rodent out in the grass, great eyesight indeed.Tom Windsor Drive was next and some white blobs in the distance quickly gout our attention these turned out to be our first 2 Trumpeter Swans and 16 Snow Geese. We left here knowing that we were just getting started for this years count now that we had the first swans under our belt. Things then went slow for our next few stops and we found ourselves having a break at A&W. I guess we got a bit cocky with those first swans as things down in Boy’s and Sahilton Roads we just downright dead, just a couple of Bald Eagles for Dorothy to note and stop the wrist cramp from setting in. Back over to the west-side and something out in the fields on Koksilah Road west avoided our detection because of all the leaves and trees that have grown up over the last two years. Around to Bench and we found our first flock of Trumpeter Swans with 10 adults and 1 immature. Then once again it was all downhill to Cowichan Bay so to speak. Along Cowichan Bay Road we had a group of Mute Swans and added a few more to the flock when viewed from the Dock Road. Another small flock of Trumpeter’s were over beside the mill.
We had done our best and it was time to head home, well maybe not as one of the cars would not start, panic was setting in as the key was wiggled and pulled in and out with nothing firing up. One member suggested we rock the car back and forth which we tried while sitting in it, again nothing, so the big guy got out and got his back up against the open door and gave it a few good rocks and wallah that did the trick. So remember if your car don’t start get out and give it the bear up against the tree treatment.
Home we went with much relief.
Added to the swan count were 10 Bald Eagles and 5 Red-tailed Hawks.
Just remember I am a year older so any mistakes are due to old age.
Cackling Geese, Derrick Marven & Zan Stenhouse
Red-tailed Hawk, Derrick Marven
Dunlin, by Zan Stenhouse
Fox Sparrow by Zan Stenhouse
Glacous-winged Gull, by Zan Stenhouse
Thayer’s Gull, by Derrick Marven