I sometimes look back and think why did I ever start counting birds, I know the data comes in very useful, but I was a regular bird watcher once and chased rarities all over the provinces like a mad thing. Today made me realize why I and others do it when you pull up on the side of the road and those big white Trumpeter Swans are sitting there calling and feeding and glisten in the bright sunshine. I see those juveniles changing color knowing that these are the next generation getting ready to head north and all the time I know that once these magnificent birds were on the threshold of becoming extinct. That’s when it hits us as to why we go out on a Wednesday, wind, rain or shine to collect data so that these birds will never be subjected to the persecution that they once were.
Nine counters set out in three cars and just like last week it was tough going for the first few stops and with our famous scribe back behind me writing the data, we were soon getting some numbers; welcome back Dorothy. She had dumped her husband just so she could get re-acquainted with Barry and I meanwhile Eric saw fit to dump all his passengers off at lunch as he was missing his dear wife, so we had to let her go with him. We seemed to have lost the third car somewhere along Richards Trail; sorry about that but you must keep up; if we don’t hit A&W by noon the troops bellies start to rumble.
Today was another record setting day as the Trumpeter Swan numbers went up again and we nailed 500 spot on for the day and added 5 Mute and 1 Tundra Swan. Hawk and Eagle numbers took a tumble and we had only 2 American Kestrel and a, very late in the day, Merlin sitting above my house as the lads dropped me off. Barry added a new one to his ever growing list of birds caught pooping, when a Red-tailed Hawk obliged on Tom Windsor Drive with a nice looking flow before taking off, good job i had my window shut. While counting swans along Hwy. 18 we noticed a large kettle of birds over Mt. Prevost, most of which appeared to be Common Ravens, by the time I got the camera on them they had glided off the back slope. This week saw our first Lambs of the year at Dougan’s; they were being closely watched over by the barn cat just in case any predator came along.
One reason our hawk numbers were down was we were missing our star spotters this week as Zan and Kurlene who were off today, Yes, I admit we missed them.
It appears everyone one of us were not paying attention when a immature Northern Harrier glided right in front of us down in Cowichan Bay, would have made a nice addition to our photo’s this week. One of the American Kestrels was sitting nicely on top of a hydro pole right where we park along Herd Road, but soon took off at the sight of us, but luckily landed in a tree to pose for Barry
Our day came to an end in bright sunshine as we scanned over Cowichan Bay, Barry had reminded us that this time last year we were buried under a load of snow; well this is Vancouver Island and one never knows what your going to get from one year to the next, but we will take a day like today anytime.