The 2013 edition of the North Okanagan Swan and Eagle Count was a cold one at minus 10 degrees C but that didn’t prevent many naturalist and Young Naturalists’ Club members from participating.
Thirty people in all covered a total of seven survey routes that included Kalamalka, Okanagan, Mara and Mabel Lakes as well as waterways and landscapes in between. Birds turned up on all routes, and surveyors were rewarded with some wonderful observations.
There were both expected and unexpected results to this year’s count. As has been the case during a majority of mid-January counts in recent years, there were no confirmed Golden Eagle or Tundra Swan citings made in the North Okanagan this year.
The number of Bald Eagles continues to appear robust in our region, though, with a total of 146 of the big baldies, including 42 sub-adult birds (29 per cent juvenile birds), tallied this year.
Juvenile Bald Eagle with its broader wings and longer tails than their adult counterparts can be misidentified as Golden Eagle. One needs to look for the consistently golden nape and relatively small head (often less than half the length of its tail) to confirm Golden Eagle.
For a second year in a row, Trumpeter Swan (four adults) was observed on the south end of Kalamalka Lake near Kaloya Provincial Park; however, inexplicably, the total number of Trumpeter Swan citings was substantially lower this year than recent years have shown (see data in chart above).
A total of 56 Trumpeter Swans including 13 juveniles (aka cygnets, 23 per cent) were recorded during the Jan. 13 count.
Those interested in participating in next year`s count are welcome. Please contact Aaron Deans at email@example.com or 250-542-5122.
The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Best Western Vernon Lodge (September through May).
Aaron M. Deans is executive director for the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, and North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club executive member.