Coastal Waterbird count February 10th 2019

A cold and beautiful morning on the south side of Cowican Bay. A bald eagle flew over and a mink entertained us as we began the count. The estuary was mostly frozen, which sent many birds to unusual places. The path was frozen, too, and the air was well below freezing, but that didn’t deter the eight field observers: Donna Zipse, Ken Bendle, Jan Kotaska, Wilma Harvie, Gail Mitchell, John Scull, Christina Cutbill, and Barry Hetschko. The large number of “ducks sp.” does not indicate a loss of birding skills on behalf of the crew; the birds were crowded in the open water near the far shore, too far away even for the telescope. The treats for the day were a pair of Killdeer on the shore and 7 Hooded Mergansers.

Here’s what we saw:
Trumpeter Swan 19; American Wigeon 1; Mallard 14; Bufflehead 42; Common Goldeneye 2; Hooded Merganser 7; duck sp. 100; Killdeer 2; Mew Gull 8; Glaucous-winged Gull 2; gull sp. 24; Double-crested Cormorant 10; Belted Kingfisher 1; Northwestern Crow 2

Ray Demarchi and Carol Hartwig, conducted a Coastal Bird Survey on Cowichan Estuary North-Khenipsen Road on a clear, sunny morning. The calm waters of high tide and the clear cold air made our job easy in spotting 11 species for a total of 270 water birds.

They included:
Canada Goose 16; Trumpeter Swan 58; American Wigeon 50; Mallard 43; Green-winged Teal 2; Bufflehead 107; Common Goldeneye 1; Hooded Merganser 4; Common Merganser 1; Glaucous-winged Gull 36; Bald Eagle 2

Lyn and Jim Wisnia braved the chilly winds that drove large numbers of waterfowl to seek shelter in the mouth of Shawnigan Creek in Mill Bay.

Verdier Point
American wigeon 161; Mallard 3; Surf scoter 91; Bufflehead 37; Common goldeneye 45; Barrow’s goldeneye 12; Common/Barrow’s goldeneye 5; Hooded merganser 2; Red-breasted merganser 16; Horned grebe 6; Mew gull 12; Glaucous-winged gull 52; Gull sp. 15.

Mill Bay
Canada goose 231; Mute swan 8; American wigeon 132; Mallard 177; Surf scoter 24; Bufflehead 23; Common goldeneye 9; Barrow’s goldeneye 18; Hooded merganser 10; Common merganser 7; Red-breasted merganser 6; Mew gull 9; Glaucous-winged gull 15; Common loon 1; Cormorant sp. 1; Bald eagle 1; Belted kingfisher 1; Northwestern crow 7.

The next count is planned for 8 am on Sunday, March 10.