Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Shrewsbury Show

The waterfowl show at Shrewsbury in south Chatham-Kent has continued into this week.  Late afternoon seems to be the time to count Snow/Ross's Geese in the fields east of Shrewsbury or Raglan.  I am never there at that time of day, so cannot experience the show!  A large number of swans have still been on the Bay as well.

The numbers always fluctuate due to various reasons, but yesterday up to 175 Snow Geese were present according to Allen Woodliffe's observation.  As well, up to 6 Ross's Geese were picked out.
There was no doubt some Ross's Geese were present, but getting good looks was essential.
In recent years we have been seeing more of these geese, and more hybrids are becoming apparent. There are some hybrids among this flock, undoubtedly.
It is certainly an unprecedented number of Snow Geese for this part of the province.

Snow Geese Mid-day Saturday

The finding of apparent "Bewick's" Swans has been another highlight.  It was a strange event on Saturday which I will not get into detail here.  I had picked out a leucistic swan which otherwise struck me as a "Bewick's".  On the way home, I saw Reuven Martin's post about finding a "Bewick's" Swan.  I wondered what was going on!
In the end, there turned out to be two swans, both of which were still being seen on Tuesday.

As we know, "Bewick's" is the Eurasian version of the Tundra Swan, sometimes seen in North America.  Just last year, one was seen at Point Pelee in the Onion Fields area.
The yellow blob on the bill is variable and has been seen in several forms.  They are given names according to shape.
Here is  a link to a website/blog that Alan Wormington provided:

I copied one of the photos here for detail where you can see the different types.

Unique bill patterns of Bewick’s swans. Information panel at WWT Welney. Photograph: Cambridgeshire ACRE.
The Point Pelee bird, first seen by Richard P. Carr, was of the Pennyface type.  Maybe the "P" stands for pennyface!  lol. Kudos to Richard for picking out the swan, as I had just been at the spot 15 minutes earlier and then saw Richard just after, as I was heading towards Wheatley!

I am not sure if anyone got a good look at bill pattern of the Shrewsbury swans, but it would be interesting to know what type they are.

With rather cold weather upon us, Rondeau Bay will be refreezing and many of these waterfowl will depart after an early "spring" migration.


  1. Blake : I don't see any mention of the Bewick's Swan that we had
    at the Ridgetown Lagoon. I saw it on Sat. March 16, 2013. Other
    birders were there viewing it as well. It may have been found the
    day before--I don't remember [ or by whom ! ] But a photo showed up
    of the bird--I have a "copy". The bill is almost certainly the
    "Yellowneb". Perhaps another reader recalls the "finder" ?
    It was well documented. Just thought I would inform your readers.

    1. Thanks Irene. I do remember the Ridgetown one, but did not mention it here, so good to include that info. I think Jeremy Bensette was one of the first who saw it. You could be right on the "yellowneb".

  2. Richard "Pennyface" Carr -- I like it!