Swan & Goose Count 11 December 2013

How many eagles in this tree?

How many eagles in this tree?

There are times when us as birders encounter incredible sights, as was the case this Wednesday when we saw trees loaded with eagles down off of Sahilton and Boy’s Roads. Incredible numbers in just one tree left us in awe at what nature had to offer. Although we tried to count most on Sahilton the numbers on Boy’s Road could only be estimated as there were so many in view and so many back in the trees.
The question was asked why? was it a lack of food that caused them all to sit up in the trees, was it that they were all full up with salmon or were they just resting or was it their Christmas Party, we will never know.

This week also saw some wonderful Christmas cards and tins of smoked salmon, see you should have come. Thanks to Christina for this lovely surprise. May she have a wonderful holiday. Sadly we missed out on chocolates this week, but we did have some wonderful mulled wine and cookies to keep us on top of things. Yes this counting business takes a major toll on us.

This count saw a major drop in both Swan and Goose numbers, where they went, who knows? I am sure that the cold snap that we have been having had a lot to do with it. We did have swans in a few new places from previous weeks so that made a change. The north end produced swans for the first time for a while with a nice group at Quist’s Farm and on Hwy 18 opposite the golf course.
A small group of swans were on Koksilah Road west but no Snipe or Killdeer were seen this week.
As we rounded a bend around to Dougan’s flats I’m sure a Hermit Thrush leapt up off the side of the road and disappeared into the woods, these hardy souls tend to spend some winters in northern climes not like their close cousins the Swainson’s who head south to warmer lands.

During a lull in proceedings one of the counters exclaimed that she had spotted toeees, we are unaccustomed to such outbursts while we are counting and usually do not get into other peoples afflictions, not sure how she got this terrible disease, but I do know she spends a lot of time in Cowichan Bay, so maybe this is where she got it. Let’s hope it’s not catching.

A couple of Cacklers were seen in amongst a large group of Canada’s up on Koksilah Road east and a good group of swans were there also.

From the Dock Road we could see a dozen or more Trumpeter’s, also there 2 adults and 1 immature Mute Swans. A lot of the diving ducks have left leaving me to believe that the food source has almost gone, this is early this year and is a little worrying. A couple of Surf Scoters were spotted, (well not spotted, that was someone else) and the Double-crested Cormorants had their arms out pleading for more food on the log booms.

This week we said goodbye to one of our eager lady counters as she is leaving for parts colder, she did a wonderful job of driving this week and only had to be told a few times which way to go. She will be back with us in the new year to keep us on the not so straight and narrow.

I don’t think that on the count we will be recording more eagles than swans too often as was the case this week.

When all was said and done we had another great weather day, that makes 5 weeks in a row now, some great things to look at and some wonderful company. Just one more count before the holidays lets hope we can improve on this weeks low numbers of waterfowl.

Take Care

Who knows what’s around the corner?