Swan & Goose count Nov.8th 2017

It was a dry day although a little chilly, 5 people turned up for the count and because one of them was coming down with some nasty bug we decided to put all the clean ones in one vehicle and me with bugsy. I had already suffered the sickness, hopefully I was now immune to getting it for a second term. One of our group had paid a visit into Duncan before meeting up to see the Northern Mockingbird and it obliged by sitting up for a nice picture or two. This has to be the longest staying bird in BC history.
The swans and eagles put on a better show this week with 84 Trumpeters counted and 67 Bald Eagles most of the eagles being in the Boy’s Road area. We had 2 Merlins and 2 Northern Harriers one of which Barry and I was let off the hook, more on that in a bit.
Somenos Lake had a few swans and a small flock of geese, there wasn’t as many ducks out on the lake this week, the star of the show was a American Kestrel which sat up on a dead snag far out to the left from the elevated boardwalk at Drinkwater Road. This species is very uncommon in the Somenos area. We also had our first Northern Harrier here going back and forth on the far side of the lake. We motored along to Quist’s farm and found a few more swans, a small amount of assorted duckies and many Common Ravens. Along Westholme Road a good group of Eurasian Collared-Doves sat high up in a Maple tree. We then headed along Richards Trail but failed to find most of anything. We had discussed through e-mail about heading down east on Herd Road as a report of swans had come in and most were still there far out in the fields off of Flett Road. We then returned back along Herd to the highway, at Norcross we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk sitting up nicely and turned and took it’s picture although the light was not in our favor. Along Hwy 18 we saw nothing just some cows running across a field as if they thought it was spring, later we heard of a couple of cougars up that way so maybe the cows had spotted something that we missed. It was all downhill now until our break.
On Boy’s Road the annual gathering of Bald Eagles was in full swing with the trees all around dotted with these majestic birds. We had a few flyby Trumpeters over on Sahilton and then we left for pastures to the west. Koksilah Road was a bust and we did not see much until we hit Bench where a few of the early birds had set up shop way down in the field with their buddy Canada Geese keeping a ever watchful eye open for the nasty farmer. A distant Merlin took the girls off to get a picture and another Merlin sat up on Lakeside Road. Dougan’s Flats had just two adult Bald Eagles wondering where all the duckies had gone as only a handful sat down in a small puddle in the field. We crossed the highway and headed over to St. Catherine’s Road where we scored a nice group of 180 Canada Geese, strangely though there were hardly any dickie birds to be seen along the brambles. Our next lucky spot was along Koksilah Road east where good number of Geese were seen, we headed around to Wilmott Road for a better look and straight away I spotted a Snow Goose in the bunch. We counted around 600 Canada Geese here and the white one stood out like a sore thumb.
Down through the Bay where the first Common Goldeneyes of the fall had returned and the Bufflehead numbers grow daily. What was very strange was the lack of birds on Dinsdale’s farm with the fields devoid of any waterfowl what so ever.
The Dock Road was next which brings me back to the other Northern Harrier, as we drove along the road both Barry and I scanned the fields and posts in hopes of an early owl and then it happened right in front of us not 10 feet away a lovely male Harrier lifted off from a post, how did we miss this, the cameras were ready, sadly we were not and the bird fluttered off across the field, luckily one of our trusted ladies managed a flight shot in ever diminishing light. Sitting at home later on we heard that a Short-eared Owl and the Harrier were spotted again; oh well, you win some and loose some. With no swans or geese in the bay our day was done and as the temperature started to drop I think we were all ready for home and nice warm fire and chair to snooze in.

Photo credits.
Male Northern Harrier by Zan Stenhouse
Snow Goose by Derrick Marven
Red-tailed Hawk by Derrick Marven and Barry Hetschko
Trumpeter Swans by Zan Stenhouse

Red-tailed hawk

Trumpeter swans

Male Northern Harrier

Snow Goose

Red-tailed Hawk