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Marsh Warblings - January 11th

Posted by Elizabeth on January 16, 2017


Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Barry Hetschko

"i was pleased to know that the poor old chucky was raised without hormones as that's the last thing my wife wants excited in my body at the moment" - Derrick Marven
Here we go another new year and the second half of this season and what a wonderful day full of sunshine and laughter. 6 counters headed out from the dog park and one straggler met up with us at Drinkwater Road. A nice Belted Kingfisher stood guard over one of the few remaining open pieces of water near the dog park, they must be really struggling with this freeze.  It was wonderful to have our good friend Derrick the Elder back, he has been missing for far to long. His added height helped with counting far off swans. Our other good friend Kurlene was taking it easy at home and watching that feeder whilst bending that knee every thirty seconds.
Belted_Kingfisher.jpgBelted Kingfisher, Zan Stenhouse
It was at Drinkwater Road that we got our first Trumpeter's poor devils hunkered down out on the ice dreaming about a fresh green patch of grass, a few Canada Geese, Gulls and Duckies kept them company hoping for an early thaw to this horrendous cold spell. One pair showed some concern to us as they did not move all day, but they were gone on Thursday morning so hopefully all was well. We always seem to worry for the swans when the temperature falls but you have to understand that when they leave to head north they can encounter much colder, frozen and harsh conditions in the great white north even  in April.
Along the highway we had a flock of swans opposite Norcross Road which held 39 adults and 25 immature, but they looked a little flighty and i am not sure if we might have got them again at a more southerly location.
Birds were few and far between this week with our Raptor count taking a major hit with numbers being very low. One shining highlight was a Peregrine Falcon that sat up on a dead snag along Koksilah Road east, giving it's chest a pinkish tinge from the sun.
Our best sighting of the day came along Hwy.18 where the Elk herd was partying along with many geese and Trumpeters, it was wonderful to see the beasts in the bright sunshine, counts of 29 Trumpeter Swan, 220 Canada Geese and 31 Elk were tallied.
Quist Farm had a good assortment of Ducks Swans and Geese and a nice male European Wigeon showed off it's lovely tanned head.
This week we had a very good percentage of immature to adult swans with 235 adults against 85 immature, i was never very good at this stuff at school, but to me that's over 30% and our average is usually around 20%.
At A&W during our break i succumbed to a chubby chicken burger as i had missed breakfast at home, i was pleased to know that the poor old chucky was raised without hormones as that's the last thing my wife wants excited in my body at the moment. On the downside old bob was fed with genetically engineered grains, so if in the coming weeks my writings get a little strange you will know why.
Boy's, Sahilton and Koksilah Road west were all missing birds and only a few Bald Eagles and a couple of Red-tails put in an appearance. Bench Road was next and a small group of swans were surrounded by a herd of Canada Geese and 26 Cackling Geese. It was easy to see the little Cacklers who appeared to like keeping on the edge of the group. Derrick the Elder made sure that i did not miss any at this location as he climbed up on the back of the truck.
DC_Cormorant.jpgThen it all went downhill literally into Cowichan Bay where 7 Mute Swans, loads of Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and a nice flock of Surf Scoter were just of Hecate Park.
Along the Dock Road there were mixed flocks of walkers some with dogs, photographers, birders and hunters all enjoying the afternoon sunshine, it's just amazing how the little strip of land brings everyone together. A Northern Harrier was seen by the trailing vehicle whilst we had a Killdeer land beside us on the road and a House Finch sat proud on top of a bramble.
Back down Tzouhalem Road we added a few more eagles and our count was done.
At the end of the day Zan brought a whole new meaning to the consumption of liquid chocolate, it's all to do with her hot body.
Double-Crested Cormorant, Zan Stenhouse
Content submitted by Derrick Marven