Saturday, 20 November 2010

Swan fine day

Started off at Quennell Lake this morning, expecting more swans to be present. I wasn't wrong!
A couple of days ago, there were 28 trumpeters and 1 tundra.
Today, there were 178 trumpeter swans and at least 12 tundra swans on the flooded field.
One of the trumpeters was a collared bird.
The variation in the bill patterns of the tundra swans is quite remarkable, some have no yellow at all, while others have clear loral patches.
One bird in particular actually looked more like a Bewick's (see the photo below).
It was encouraging to see many young birds and family groups, of both species.

Otherwise, it was pretty unremarkable - no interesting aythyas among the ring-necked ducks and lesser scaups.
There were good numbers of American wigeon, loads of mallards and common mergansers, plus a handful of shovelers.

I then headed round to the Nanaimo River estuary.
A few trumpeter swans and Barrow's goldeneye were on the river. At the estuary, at least 2 juvs and an adult male northern harrier put on a good show. A northern shrike was hunting from the hawthorns on the marsh.
A male slate-coloured darke-eyed junco was among a flock of regular birds. Incidentally, an individual of this form was at my feeders this morning too.  
A drake Eurasian wigeon was among its commoner congeners on the kidney pools (see pic) while many hundreds more American wigeon and green-winged teal were out on the water - occasionally put to flight by a lone hunter.

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