A group of eagles perch along the branches of a tree.

A group of eagles perch along the branches of a tree.

North Okanagan eagle, swan count impressive

Another swan and eagle count is on the books and this years’s North Okanagan count proved particularly noteworthy.

Another swan and eagle count is on the books and this years’s count proved particularly noteworthy.

Both swans and eagles had greater than average numbers in the North Okanagan this winter, with a total of 139 trumpeter swans and 152 bald eagles tallied during the Jan. 15 count.

“Compare that with the 2010 results of 112 trumpeters and 88 bald eagles,” said Aaron Deans, with the North Okanagan Naturalists Club.

“The proportion of immature birds was also relatively high this year with 36 cygnets (26 per cent immature swans) and 52 sub-adult eagles (34 per cent) suggesting that breeding success in recent years has been quite good.”

A total of 29 people participated in the count this year, including, for the first time, several Young Naturalists Club members and their parents.

“It was great to have the extra pairs of eyes.,” said Deans.

“At our group’s first stop of the day, while we were busy counting eagles among the trees on Powerhouse Road in Armstrong, one of the young naturalists spotted three swans in flight from the southwest heading our way.

“We all had enough time to crane our heads around to watch and hear the swans honk and wing beats overhead. It was a breathtaking spectacle.”

Another first for the count was observations of swans on Kalamalka Lake, with two immature trumpeters recorded near Kaloya Park at the south end of the lake.

This was the 32nd annual swan count and the 18th annual eagle count conducted in the Vernon region, which includes Kalamalka, Okanagan, and Swan lakes, the Commonage, Bella Vista, Okanagan Landing, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Enderby, and Lumby, as well as areas north to Mabel and Mara lakes.

Anyone interested in joining the effort next year can contact Deans at bishopwildbird@gmail.com or 250-542-5122.

Also, new Young Naturalist Club members are welcome to join Explorer Day outings (the second Sunday of each month). The North Okanagan Naturalists Club meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Best Western Plus  Vernon Lodge (September through May).