Bird count brings some pleasant surprises, notable absences

Canada geese and surf scoters in abundance

A Barrow’s Goldeneye flock of more than 60 individuals with Surf Scoters. (Photo by Bill Gyles)

A Barrow’s Goldeneye flock of more than 60 individuals with Surf Scoters. (Photo by Bill Gyles)

Results have been compiled from the Ladysmith/Chemainus Christmas bird count Dec. 17.

Count organizer and compiler Dr. Robert Hay noted there were 29 participants this year, including four feeder watchers.

He reports there was a total of 87 bird species sighted, with the orange-crowned warbler also seen during the count week.

Notable high counts of species were: Canada goose (1,277), surf scoter (354), trumpeter swan (264), golden-crowned sparrow (182), Eurasian collared-dove (82), Pacific loon (78), Barrow’s goldeneye (75) and white-crowned sparrow (38).

Bill Gyles recorded a video of 68 Barrow’s goldeneye seen off Yellow Point.

Low counts included: California quail (45), house finch (13), harlequin duck (11), Steller’s jay (9), green-winged teal (2) and black oystercatcher (1).

“We missed seeing pied-billed grebe, American coot, black turnstone and merlin this year,” added Hay.

New species on the count were: rhinoceros auklet (13), American dipper (4), greater scaup (3) and brown-headed cowbird (2). Other notable species seen included: gadwall (7), American black duck (5), killdeer (5) and snow goose (1).

“We were fortunate with the weather, with overcast skies, little to no wind and temperatures ranging from zero to 5 Celsius,” Hay pointed out. “Coverage for our area was fairly good: upland areas need more attention but at least I was able to watch birds on the ferry from Chemainus to Thetis and Penelakut Islands again in the afternoon. Our local First Nations also granted me permission again to count birds at Kulleet Bay.”

Hay expressed his thanks to all participants for their efforts on the count day as well as forwarding the results in a timely manner.

The results he compiled are preliminary until confirmed by the regional editor.