recorded in British Columbia
Musgrove, 18-25 July 1999
Sunday 18th July
I was dropped off in the morning at Norwich
airport by Trudy and Tom and flew to Amsterdam, leaving about four hours later
to fly to Vancouver. I had good views of Norfolk on the first leg, flying down
the Yare valley and out over Breydon and Great Yarmouth. On the second flight,
we flew up over Shetland which could be seen well, over Iceland in cloud and
then had excellent views of Greenland. Both coasts were rocky fjord-like landscapes
with ice-flows on the sea but the central plain inland appeared to be a flat
snow plain all the way across. We came in over Baffin Island and then flew south-west
over hundreds of miles of Tundra which was dotted with thousands of small lakes
as well as some huge ones. Eventually, trees were visible and shortly afterwards,
the first road. We then came over the northern edge of the prairies which were
made up of huge areas of fields although a fair amount of wilderness seemed
to be around too. The Rockies were then crossed and had some snow on but the
Coast Mountains were much snowier. It was cloudier here but excellent views
were had on the descent into Vancouver airport.
I got hassled by Vancouver customs, principally
because I filled in "Business" on my entry card but didn’t list my
binoculars as a business item. They searched everything, confiscated my ham
sandwich and then sent me off to get a work visa. After reaching the relevant
place I was then told I didn’t need a work visa. I finally got through and met
Stephanie Hazlitt and Russ Weeber and chatted with them over a beer until Dick
Cannings arrived on his plane from Penticton. We then drove to White Rock and
had a Thai meal. Dick and I then went to Fred Cooke’s house to stay. I had a
pretty early night, due to jet-lag.
I did manage to record a few birds during
Northwestern Crow First seen
on Vancouver airport runway, then subsequently seen commonly; perhaps
c40 seen. Smallish crows and pretty unexciting.
Bald Eagle An adult flew
over as I disembarked the aircraft - an exciting welcome to Vancouver!
House Sparrow Around Vancouver airport,
Starling Common along roadsides.
Red-tailed Hawk One seen by the
road - this species was seen widely during the week.
Hen Harrier One "Marsh Hawk"
ringtail over the road near Boundary Bay.
Feral Rock Dove c5 by roadsides
Ring-billed Gull One adult by the
road in White Rock.
Glaucous-winged Gull c10 seen;
finally seen well outside the Thai restaurant in White Rock.
[Bewick’s Wren] Brief burst of song
heard from the car (id. by others).
[Spotted Towhee] Brief burst of
song heard from the car (id. by others).
species, 3 ticks.
Monday 19th July
I woke about 0530 and obviously had to
go straight out for a walk around the neighbourhood for an hour. Relatively
few birds were seen, which was a little disappointing, but then again I was
in suburbia in July.
Spotted Towhee Several heard
singing (a shrill trill) and also seen well. Very similar in appearance
to Rufous-sided Towhee (although the song is apparently very different).
American Robin Several - this species
was common and widespread all week.
House Finch Several - also widely
seen but seldom providing very good views.
Black-capped Chickadee Several
- the most numerous chickadee on the coast.
Band-tailed Pigeon One calling
bird was tracked down and another flew over. Not a particularly common
bird (nothing like Woodpigeon is here for example).
Barn Swallow Generally the commonest
Red-breasted Nuthatch Two
were seen, located by the "toy trumpet" call. Recorded
widely during the week in conifers.
Olive-sided Flycatcher One
singing from the top of a tall tree. The song is supposed to be
"quick three beers" although I transcribed this one as
"whidup-we-weeah". The white rump sides were clearly visible.
Steller’s Jay Two on a house
roof. This species was not as common as I had expected.
Song Sparrow One on Fred’s bird
Great Blue Heron One flew over -
a widespread species.
[Chestnut-b. Chickadee] Calls pointed
out by Dick.
[Pileated Woodpecker?] One probable
[Brown Creeper?] Treecreeper-like calls
heard but not well enough to be sure and not seen.
Grey Squirrel Very dark here but
apparently S. carolinensis also.
Douglas Squirrel An attractive small
Eastern Cottontail A rabbit which was
apparently this species.
We then went off on the planned field trip.
Picked up Gary Kaiser, Charles Francis and dropped off some dead birds at UBC.
This was a very long, tedious drive to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay which involved
having to go through the very centre of downtown Vancouver. We then had a crossing
of ca 30 minutes across to the Sunshine Coast.
Feral Rock Dove
Cedar Waxwing A typical roadside
bird and fairly common throughout.
Canada Goose First seen by the Burrard
Inlet. Common throughout, many looking pretty feral. Some in coastal
situations, not something often seen in the UK.
Turkey Vulture One near Horsehoe
Bald Eagle An adult perched
near Horseshoe Bay and then an immature in flight from the ferry.
Violet-green Swallow After
a few poor flight views, good views were had at the Horseshoe Bay
ferry terminal. Widespread although not always as easy to identify
as might be expected.
Pigeon Guillemot One on the water
at Horseshoe Bay.
Goosander A female "Common
Merganser" with two juvs at Horseshoe Bay.
Double-cr. Cormorant At least three
in flight seen from the ferry (with a few more later along the Sunshine
Once on the Sunshine Coast, we visited
various sites. Mission Point was the outlet of a small creek on to a sandy/rocky
beach with many tourists about. Sergeant Bay was a secluded cove backed by a
marsh. Half Moon Bay was a larger rocky bay with a small fishing community.
Porpoise Bay was a wide fjord/inlet with some intertidal mud. Chaster Creek
was a section of open coast. A few good birds were seen back at the ferry terminal
also. The day was good for getting to know the other participants and also for
appreciation of the area - access is usually difficult - either private gardens
or inaccessible terrain. Plenty of good birds seen also.
Marbled Murrelet This
was picked up on call by some of the others! The species is a major
cause celebre in BC, being linked into the old growth forest / Spotted
Owl debate. Millions of dollars are being poured into research on
the bird. Four were seen off Mission Point, two at Sergeant Bay,
two Half Moon Bay and two at Chaster Creek, all in their brown summer
California Gull Like small
delicate Herring Gulls but fairly undistinguished. c15 at Mission Point,
five Half Moon Bay and c10 at Porpoise Bay.
Mallard Small numbers.
Common Gull These "Mew
Gulls" weren’t noticeably different to UK birds. One at Mission Point
and four at Porpoise Bay.
Velvet Scoter Four "White-winged
Scoters" in flight off Mission Point.
Pelagic Cormorant Three flew
north past Mission Point. A small, thin-necked species, the white flank
patch still present on one.
Bald Eagle Relatively common.
An adult and 2 juvs near a nest at Mission Point, an immature at
Sergeant Bay which landed on the beach near some sunbathers, an
adult at Half Moon Bay, an adult at Porpoise Bay and an adult from
the ferry on the way back.
Bonaparte’s Gull One at Sergeant
Bay, 12 Half Moon Bay and 5 Porpoise Bay.
Hooded Merganser A female-type
at Sergeant Bay was apparently a good find on saltwater.
Great Blue Heron One Sergeant Bay
Vaux’s Swift Three over the
hills behind Sergeant Bay, two at Half Moon Bay and one at Porpoise
Bay. Not a very common bird on the coast.
Common Yellowthroat One male singing
"witchity-witchity" and also seen quite well at the
Sergeant Bay marsh, plus another
Song Sparrow Loud melodic song heard
Rufous Hummingbird One female-type seen well
perched at the back of Sergeant Bay. This was the
commonest hummer and most which went unidentified were probably of this species.
Northern R-w. Swallow One at Sergeant
Bay. Not many of these were identified.
Red-winged Blackbird A few around the
marsh at Sergeant Bay - these were common in all wetter areas.
Swainson’s Thrush One heard singing at Sergeant
Bay, a very distinctive "rising spiral staircase" song. Not seen
here but one heard calling near the ferry terminal and then two
young birds seen here in a bush.
Pine Siskin Two flew
over at Sergeant Bay with an obviously Siskin-like call note. An
apparently common bird in conifers throughout although good views
were not often had.
Willow Flycatcher One
seen well in the trees at the edge of the marsh at Sergeant Bay,
identified on song ("fitz-bew"), habitat and lack of an
eye-ring by Dick Cannings for me!
Belted Kingfisher One was rattling
away at Sergeant Bay marsh.
Harlequin Duck Two
in flight then visible on and off behind the rocks in Half Moon
Bay - both female-types.
Black Oystercatcher One at Half
Moon Bay, very typical Oystercatcher voice.
Great Northern Diver Two "Common
Loons" in Half Moon Bay.
Turkey Vulture Three over trees
behind Half Moon Bay.
Goosander Female and two juvs at
Half Moon Bay and the same at the ferry terminal.
Western Gull An adult at
Half Moon Bay was apparently a very good summer record.
Merlin A pair in tree-tops at
Porpoise Bay was a surprise to me although this is apparently normal
Ring-billed Gull Two at Porpoise
Glaucous-winged Gull Common along the
Winter Wren One singing
at Chaster Creek, somewhat different to UK birds but easily recognisable.
Killdeer One at the ferry terminal.
Spotted Sandpiper One flushed from a
ditch by the ferry terminal.
White-crowned Sparrow Good views
of three around the ferry terminal car park.
[Purple Finch] Heard at Sergeant
Bay but not visible.
[Western Tanager] Heard at Sergeant
Bay but not visible.
[Warbling Vireo] Heard at Sergeant
Bay but not visible.
[Downy Woodpecker] Heard at Sergeant
Bay but not visible.
[Pacific Slope Flycatcher] One heard
calling at Porpoise Bay, according to Dick.
California Sea-lion Two splashing around
off Sergeant Bay
Harbour Seal One Horseshoe Bay harbour.
Pale Tiger Swallowtail Identified
by Dick at Sergeant Bay - swallowtail spp were common and a few
whites were also seen but butterflies were generally scarce.
Green Darner Identified by Dick
- lots of other dragonflies seen.
We then drove back, via a Mexican restaurant
in Vancouver. A long day!
species, 21 ticks.
Tuesday 20th July
I woke at 0530 and went out briefly. Just
before leaving for the day, Dick found a few birds in the trees around the house.
Pine Siskin Two on the bird table.
Song Sparrow One on the bird table.
Black-headed Grosbeak One was
seen at the top of a tall conifer. These were quite widespread, although
many more were heard by the others than I saw.
Bewick’s Wren One was pished
out and gave good close views.
Chestnut-b. Chickadee Several
were heard (according to the others) but only one was seen, quite poorly.
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Band-tailed Pigeon 1
[Downy Woodpecker] One heard only, Dick’s
We then drove to the Reifel refuge for
the BC Coastal Waterbird Workshop. This first day involved talking about past
surveys (including me talking about WeBS, which seemed to be well received and
useful). A few birds were seen around the Canadian Wildlife Service offices.
We then went around the refuge late in the afternoon. meeting John Ireland,
a Yorkshireman who is now the warden there. We finished off the day with an
excellent Malaysian meal in White Rock.
Brewer’s Blackbird I’d seen several
unconfirmed ones over the last few days, but saw some well today
on the way to the workshop and also at the refuge. Not as common as expected.
Great Blue Heron c15 during the
Cliff Swallow c10 seen, mostly around
the CWS offices where they were nesting.
Barn Swallow Many nesting around
the CWS offices.
Greater Yellowlegs Three flew over the
CWS offices, with another seven at the refuge.
American Goldfinch A few were seen around
the CWS office and the refuge. Not abundant but widespread during
the week in small numbers. Flight call is more like Greenfinch
than European Goldfinch.
Wood Duck Two were seen.
Bald Eagle At least one
adult and one immature were seen around the CWS with more at the
refuge (perhaps involving the same birds?) and by roadsides; perhaps
about five during the day.
Rufous Hummingbird One seen well enough
to identify at the CWS.
Caspian Tern One flew over the CWS
Bushtit A small flock
of at least three was seen at lunchtime near the CWS offices. Calls
and behaviour similar to Long-tailed Tit.
Cedar Waxwing c20 during the day,
including at least three outside the workshop room.
Black-capped Chickadee A slow, two-note
Black-headed Grosbeak A female near
the CWS offices.
Tree Swallow About five were
seen around the Reifel refuge.
Gadwall Four at the refuge.
Green-winged Teal c10 at the refuge.
Marsh Wren At least
three singing males at the refuge, one of which was seen well sat
up in the marsh.
Western Sandpiper Surprisingly,
only one out of five peeps appeared to be this species, with a long,
fine bill and a hint of rufous colouration on the crown.
Semipalmated Sandpiper Four
peeps appeared to be Semi-p’s. These are apparently not as rare
over here as the National Geographic Guide would suggest. Shorter,
blunter-tipped bills than the Western. No Least Sandpipers though.
Lesser Yellowlegs c15 at the refuge.
Red-necked Phalarope One on the main
scrape at the refuge.
Brown-headed Cowbird c10 were seen around
Killdeer One at the refuge.
Shoveler One male at the refuge.
Long-billed Dowitcher c15 at the refuge,
giving excellent close-up views.
Savannah Sparrow One was found
creeping around the edge of the main scrape.
Sandhill Crane Hmmmm!?
A tame one wandering around the car park was an originally captive
bird and not countable. However, two more in the refuge were also
very tame but according to the warden were originally wild birds
which had become tame. Not a very satisfying tick!
American Coot One at the refuge.
Pintail Two at the refuge.
Mourning Dove One on roadside
wires near the refuge; not a very common bird near the coast.
Common Yellowthroat One singing male
by the CWS offices.
Downy Woodpecker One seen in flight
only at the refuge.
Various frogs, dragonflies and swallowtails.
species, 10 ticks.
Wednesday 21st July
I woke early again and walked around a
bit of White Rock, this morning finding Dogwood Park.
Band-tailed Pigeon 3
Steller’s Jay 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher One
singing again by Fred’s house, with the white back spots again very
White-crowned Sparrow One male singing
from the aerial of a suburban house.
Pileated Woodpecker Three
were seen extremely well in Dogwood Park, allowing a very close
approach. Presumably the same birds (a family party?) were seen
again back near Fred’s House.
Swainson’s Thrush One in
Dogwood Park, first picked up on its "liquid drop" call
and then seen.
Winter Wren Two singing males.
Chestnut-b. Chickadee Better views of
a group of four, although I had to lay on the ground to view them
in the top of a very tall tree to avoid neck-strain!
Downy Woodpecker At least
one, seen in flight only. Possibly more heard although I didn’t
get very familiar with this species on this trip.
We then returned to the CWS offices at
Reifel refuge. Most of the day’s discussion was on specific points relating
to methods, which was again interesting.
Mourning Dove 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Ring-billed Gull 1
Yellow Warbler One seen near
the CWS office, pished out with chickadees. Not very striking and
so probably a female or juvenile.
Bald Eagle 3
Common Yellowthroat One male again.
Cooper’s Hawk One flashed
past the window of the meeting, mobbed by swallows. Although initially
left as unidentified, I later counted this as being a Cooper’s really on elimation
of anything else. The species is apparently common around here.
We then went off to look at a few nearby
coastal sites. Roberts Bank was an area of intertidal, crossed by a long causeway
providing good access. We then went on to Blackie Spit at the eastern end of
Boundary Bay where a small river flowed in. Finally, we had a look along the
White Rock shore of Boundary Bay, finishing off the day with a meal in a Greek
restaurant of non-descript quality.
Western Sandpiper A flock
of ca 40 peeps flew past at Roberts Bank. Flocks of peeps in estuarine
habitats around here are apparently mostly of this species.
Grey Plover A flock of ca 100 seen
in flight only from Roberts Bank.
Double-cr. Cormorant ca 30 seen,
mostly on offshore buoys at Roberts Bank.
American White Pelican One a
Roberts Bank, an a buoy with Double-crested Cormorants and later in flight.
A twitch by the local birders!
Caspian Tern One at Roberts Bank
and two at Blackie Spit.
Savannah Sparrow Two seen feeding by
railway tracks at Roberts Bank with another at Blackie Spit.
Black Oystercatcher One flew past at
Roberts Bank, a good record.
Bald Eagle Singles at both Roberts
Bank and Blackie Spit, the latter heard only.
Hen Harrier One by the road by Boundary
Whimbrel At least eight at Blackie
Greater Yellowlegs Five at Blackie Spit
Ring-billed Gull 50 at Blackie Spit
California Gull Five at Blackie
Great Blue Heron Concentration of
over 100 in saltmarsh at Blackie Spit.
Killdeer Five at Blackie Spit
Belted Kingfisher Singles in flight
at Blackie Spit and White Rock.
Western Grebe Three seen
quite far offshore at White Rock; fairly poor views.
Surf Scoter A close male and three
females, plus a few more distant scoter spp., at White Rock.
Harlequin Duck Two female-types
at White Rock, poor views into the sun.
[Scaup sp.] One flew past at White
species, 4 ticks.
Thursday 22nd July
I woke at 0700 but still had time for a
quick walk at White Rock.
Oregon Junco A male and two f/j
in a garden, my first record of this western subspecies. Considering
how common this species was in the mountains, it was surprisingly
scarce on the coast.
Bushtit Very good views of three
were had by pishing them in.
Pileated Woodpecker Very close views
of three in one tree; extremely tame!
Chestnut-b. Chickadee Good views of
Steph had decided that no more workshop
was necessary so Dick, Charles and I went to Cypress Park north of the city.
This called for another lengthy drive through Vancouver. Cypress Park was very
snowy still which was great; it was amazing to see hummingbirds zipping around
in a snowy forest! Got slightly worried about bears too! Cafe owners said there
were a few around.
Rufous Hummingbird One of the commonest
birds with perhaps c20 noted.
Black-headed Grosbeak Good views of
MacGillivray’s Warbler Lots of
song and calls heard from a bird in scrub but only very poor views.
Hermit Thrush Lots heard singing
and several seen well, the rufous tails very obvious.
Calliope Hummingbird A
top find by Dick (I’d have overlooked it). A f/j type hummer with
no red in the tail. Good long views as it sat perched on bushes
and on a plastic fence.
Crossbill Lots responded to pishing,
apparently the "Hemlock Crossbill" if split.
Pine Siskin Common.
Varied Thrush Several
White-crowned Sparrow 2
Townsend’s Warbler Excellent
views of a pair, a top bird.
Red-breasted Sapsucker An adult
and a juvenile brought in by pishing.
Red-shafted Flicker Good views of one
Orange-cr. Warbler Good views
of two, although rather shabby birds.
Violet-green Swallow One around the
Oregon Junco Very common.
Swainson’s Thrush One singing male heard.
Band-tailed Pigeon 3
Pacific Tree Frog Heard, amongst
the snowy alpine meadows!
[Bear] At least three piles
We then drove down to Lighthouse Park on
a futile attempt to see Anna’s Hummingbird, although we did see a few other
Chestnut-b. Chickadee Good views of
Black-thr. Grey Warbler A female
seen in Lighthouse Park, which was a very smart bird despite not being
a male. This was the only one of the trip.
Western Tanager A
neck-craning view of a male, which turned out to be typical for
Swainson’s Thrush 2
Black-headed Grosbeak 2
We then drove off to get the hire car from
the airport, via a very brief stop at Iona Island, principally for Dick to look
for a Little Gull (which we didn’t see); it would have been good to have had
more time here.
Bald Eagle Two over Vancouver.
Red-tailed Hawk One over Vancouver,
one at Iona.
Hen Harrier One edge of Vancouver.
Lesser Scaup At least a pair.
Pied-billed Grebe 6
American Coot c10
Ruddy Duck 5
Marsh Wren Two singing males.
Western Sandpiper c30 but seen in flight
Rufous Hummingbird 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
[Ring-necked Duck] Probably a pair at
Iona Island, or more Lesser Scaup? Poor views.
We dropped Dick off at the airport and
then went in two cars back to CWS, giving Steph her van back and picking up
some camping gear. Charles and I then drove through the greater Vancouver suburbs
and out to Manning Park where we had a walk at dusk in the Sullamo Grove area
in a futile attempt to hear Spotted Owl. I spent most of the walk terrified
of a bear attack. No such luck (?) but a large dog on the path caused a momentary
Harlequin Duck excellent views of
a female with a downy chick below the bridge; swam virtually directly
Golden-crowned Kinglet One seen
well with another two singing males also heard.
Warbling Vireo One was pished
out of the woods.
Swainson’s Thrush At least five singing
males heard, a superb sound.
Vaux’s Swift At least five over.
Winter Wren One singing male.
Spotted Sandpiper One heard at dusk.
Black-tailed Deer Two near park
entrance (a subspecies of Mule Deer apparently).
[Bat sp.] One at dusk.
We finally pitched tents at Hampton campground
at 2330, having been told by the camp fee-collector that a bear had walked through
the camp two days earlier.
species, 10 ticks.
Friday 23rd July
Woke at 0515 and quickly packed up the
gear and drove up the Alpine Meadows road. Did some birding on the way up including
a stop at the Cascade Lookout. The Road was closed part of the way up so we
walked the last 3-4 miles to the top and back; there was a little snow at the
top of the track but it wasn’t really necessary to have the road closed. Birds
were mostly quiet higher up but birding was better lower down and a good selection
of mammals and some nice alpine flowers were seen, the latter in areas of snow-melt
at the top.
Winter Wren One singing at Hampton
Swainson’s Thrush One heard calling
Raven One by main road and two
Hermit Thrush Several seen and heard
American Robin All elevations.
Blue Grouse Excellent views
of a male by the roadside and watched well even when we’d got out
of the car. I stupidly forgot to photograph it, which would have been easy!
Townsend’s Solitaire One
was seen on top of a conifer and in flight; a distinctive call,
like a smoke detector battery going flat.
"Audubon’s" Warbler At least
three seen, my first of this western race. Males were particularly stunning.
Townsend’s Warbler Three superb singing
Oregon Junco Very common.
Mountain Chickadee Good views
of several, the common chickadee here. The white brow was not always
all that obvious.
American Kestrel One, chased by
Three-toed Woodpecker Pair seen
on dead trees. Not brilliant views but a good bird to get.
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker Four together on
a dead tree (family presumably).
Clark’s Nutcracker At
least six, mostly seen around the lookout. Later, when more people
present, on the scrounge for scraps.
Goshawk Excellent views of a male
flying towards us down the track, mobbed by Clark’s Nutcrackers;
an uncommonly seen bird here.
Varied Thrush Heard singing.
Grey Jay Only one was seen,
which seemed surprising. Quite a cute little corvid.
Chipping Sparrow Two seen by the track
high up the hill.
Fox Sparrow At least three
at the Paintbrush trail at the top; a good find in the breeding season.
A big and distinctive sparrow.
[Hummingbird sp.] Three
flew past too quickly to identify thougb presumably Rufous or Calliope.
Snowshoe Hare One at Hampton campsite.
Yellow-bellied Marmot One quite low
down the mountain on road-side scree.
Hoary Marmot Three at the top; big
and very tame.
Columbian Gr. Squirrel Open areas including
down in the valley by the hotel and at Lightening Lake.
Yellow Pine Chipmunk Particularly tame
at the Cascade lookout; possible split to Northwestern Chipmunk!
Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
At least one at the lookout;
apparently endangered by the spread of the Columbian Ground
"Red" Squirrel Not the
same species as ours. Common and noisy and makes bird-like trills.
Pika Cute little rabbit-like
beasties with smaller ears.
We eventually got back to our car, had
some food and went down to the valley bottom, checking out "20-Minute Lake",
Lightning Lake and the Beaver Pond. Mosquitoes were a problem at the latter.
Red-naped Sapsucker One coming
to a juvenile in a nest at a pull-in near the Similkameen river.
Barrow’s Goldeneye Not
easy, although it helped when Dick later told us that only Barrow’s
was present here. Four female-types were on 20-Minute Lake, two
females and five young juvs at Lightning Lake and a female and one
juvenile at the Beaver Pond.
Yellow-rumped Warbler 20-Minute Lake
and the Beaver Pond.
Golden-crowned Kinglet 20-Minute Lake
and Lightning Lake.
Clark’s Nutcracker Two at 20-Minute
Lake, four by Lightning Lake.
Great Northern Diver Two adults on Lightning
Townsend’s Warbler Lightning Lake.
Song Sparrow Several at the Beaver
Pond but no sign of Lincoln’s Sparrow as Dick had suggested.
MacGillivray’s Warbler Good
views of a male at Beaver Pond, making up for the poor views yesterday.
White semi-eye-ring seen well. Tacking in response to pishing and
Pygmy Owl hoots.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet A pair seen
well at the Beaver Pond, the only ones of the trip.
Sharp-shinned Hawk One male came in
to pishing at the Beaver Pond and quickly left again.
Western Pewee One
was scoped up as it fly-catched from a perch in the Beaver Pond.
Dull in a fairly distinctive sort of way!
Belted Kingfisher One at the Beaver
Pond was the first I’d seen well on this trip.
Pine Siskin Beaver Pond.
Eventually, we set off to the Okanagan
Valley. Because we were a little later than planned, we went straight to Penticton
although we did have a few good birds on the way.
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Crow Crows seen east of
Manning were assumed to be this species; they did seem larger than
those on the coast, honest!
Lewis’s Woodpecker Three
by the road near Hedley; ace birds having a classy mix of black,
red and green.
Brewer’s Blackbird Two near Hedley,
Western Pewee Two near Hedley.
Eastern Kingbird One on wires and
one after Keremeos, the white tail-tips very obvious.
Red-winged Blackbird A pair near Hedley.
American Kestrel Male near Hedley,
one near Naramata.
Western Kingbird Two adults and
two juvs on wires after passing Keremeos, plus one near Penticton.
Bullock’s Oriole A female
was seen flying over the road after Keremeos.
California Quail A male was
seen by the roadside after Keremeos.
Barrow’s Goldeneye Three eclipse males,
three females and two downy juvs at Yellow Lake.
Common Nighthawk Three
flew over Yellow Lake in the late afternoon and then at least 20
were seen over Penticton town centre, an amazing sight given that
it was fully light and the birds were obviously not migrating.
Turkey Vulture One over Penticton.
Ring-billed Gull c50 at Skaha Lake
We finally arrived at Dick Cannings’ house
at Naramata, with his garden backing onto a wooded ravine. We had some excellent
barbecued salmon, did some back garden birding and then went out in his truck
up the KVR, an old railway bed in the hills behind Naramata.
Cassin’s Finch Two males
and a female in Dick’s garden, although not brilliant views.
Pygmy Nuthatch One flying
between the tree-tops in the garden but poor views.
Vaux’s Swift Several over the garden.
Swainson’s Thrush One calling by the
California Quail About 20 flew past
the house and three by the road later.
Crossbill Two over.
Red-naped Sapsucker One in the garden.
Common Poorwill One
at dusk on the KVR in the headlights. Excellent views before it
flew off. Dick then whistled it back and it came and landed in front
of us and displayed, gurgling quietly! The small size and the white
throat were distinctive. One of the best moments of the trip.
Common Nighthawk c10 along the KVR
Townsend’s Solitaire One heard calling
and one singing (although this unmemorable) along the KVR.
[Hummingbird sp.] At least one briefly
at the garden feeder.
[Pacific Slope Flycatcher] Heard only
[Evening Grosbeak] Heard only from garden.
[Rock Wren] Heard only singing from
cliffs by the KVR.
[White-throated Swift] Heard calling
from roost holes on cliffs by the KVR.
Raccoon An adult and juvenile
in a tree behind their garden.
Mule Deer One by the KVR after dark.
species, 19 ticks.
Saturday 24th July
Next morning had yet another early start
at 0530. Saw a few birds in Dick’s garden first before leaving to drive down
to Vaseux Lake.
Cassin’s Finch Better views of a
California Quail Five on and around
the bird table.
Evening Grosbeak A female and
a juvenile around the bird table.
Rufous Hummingbird A female at the feeder.
Red-tailed Hawk One over.
American Goldfinch 1
Swainson’s Thrush One heard.
Magpie A flock of 20 flew over
Red-shafted Flicker One over the road.
Western Kingbird One by the road.
Brewer’s Blackbird One by the road.
Great Blue Heron One over road.
[Hummingbird sp.] Several seen too briefly
We stopped in the car park at the north
end of Vaseux Lake and had a quick wander here, before getting into Dick’s truck
and going off for a superb three hours of birding along the Irrigation Creek
Road through the hills east of Vaseux Lake. A little rushed (Dick had to get
back home) but great birding nonetheless.
Yellow Warbler Male at Vaseux Lake.
Black-ch. Hummingbird Excellent
views of a male still in full plumage in the car park at Vaseux
Spotted Towhee Not seen on the previous
day in the hills.
Bullock’s Oriole Two female/juvs
at Vaseux Lake and a male seen in the hills later.
Swainson’s Thrush One singing male Vaseux
Lake; apparently a migrant since they move down from the hills at
this time of year.
Grey Catbird c10 at Vaseux Lake,
noisy and conspicuous.
Willow Flycatcher Vaseux Lake; distinctive
Marsh Wren One singing male Vaseux
Cedar Waxwing c5 Vaseux Lake.
Lazuli Bunting One
singing bird eventually located by the cliffs above the lake and
one more later also.
Chukar At least five were
wandering about on the cliffs above the lake; a top attraction for
Canadian birders apparently!
Western Meadowlark We flushed
c20 from one small area of sagebrush but no others during the morning
Lewis’s Woodpecker At least three around
the Vaseux Lake hills.
Vesper Sparrow One
was pointed out to me perched on a fence by a weedy field; not a
striking bird! White outertail.
Chipping Sparrow Common in one weedy
Mourning Dove c20 in one weedy field.
Hairy Woodpecker Family party of three
Western Tanager One female.
Dusky Flycatcher An Empidonax
identified mostly on call by Dick; two were seen.
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Northern Pygmy Owl At
one stop, Dick’s Pygmy Owl impression, which we used frequently
to attract passerines, produced a response from a Pygmy Owl. We
moved towards it and it flew the last bit of the way. Particularly
tiny but still owl-like in flight. It perched in the top of a very
tall tree and called down to us for ages. Heavily mobbed, particularly
by Red-breasted Nuthatches. My 900th bird for the world!
White-throated Swift Two
over, then five later, then c20 well around the cliffs above the
lake when we returned there later.
Cassin’s Vireo It
took a long time to track down a calling bird to a sighting and
then another male was seen with it, followed by another heard by
the cliffs later. A recent split of Solitary Vireo produced this
species plus Blue-headed and Plumbeous Vireos.
Golden Eagle Excellent views
of one soaring overhead though disparaged somewhat by Dick as a
Grey Flycatcher One; another
Pygmy Nuthatch Excellent views of
a family party of at least four. Very satisfying after yesterday’s
poor views and making it a three Nuthatch day!
House Wren Good views of one.
Common Nighthawk Two over in broad daylight.
Western Bluebird One male seen
from the van in flight only, whilst descending from the hills.
Lark Sparrow Five seen, eventually
giving good views.
Mountain Bluebird A fine male
sat by the road whilst descending from the hills.
Red-necked Grebe An adult and two juveniles
on Vaseux Lake.
Pied-billed Grebe One Vaseux Lake.
[Canyon Wren] One or two
singing males heard around the cliffs above Vaseux Lake but could
not, despite much trying, be seen. The song was a distinctive descending
series of drawn-out whistles.
[Rock Wren] Also heard above Vaseux
Lake from the cliffs, but song/call not memorable.
[Veery] At least one apparently
singing at Vaseux Lake but not clear to me which it was and not
Bighorn Sheep At least 12 females
and juvs under the cliffs at Vaseux Lake.
Dick then left us. After a failed attempt
to clap eyes on Rock and Canyon Wrens we drove onto the Road 22 / Black Sage
Road area, which was somewhat disappointing although we did have some lunch
and buy some excellent cherries and peaches nearby.
Sand Martin Good views of several.
Bobolink At least two males, one
female and a juvenile in marshes adjacent to Black Sage Road, the
males in mostly full plumage.
Bullock’s Oriole One female/juvenile.
Red-winged Blackbird Lots
around the marshes; Charles saw two f/j Yellow-headed Blackbirds
but I dipped. We also dipped on Say’s Phoebe here with none around
the old barns.
Eastern Kingbird Several.
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Osprey One over.
Wood Duck 15; the eclipse males
look rather odd.
American Coot 2
Tree Swallow 1
Hooded Merganser One female or juvenile.
Belted Kingfisher 1
Lark Sparrow Two along Black Sage
We then drove on to the border area of
Chopaka / Nighthawk USA, a well known site for Sage Thrasher and Brewer’s Sparrow,
both of which we missed. It was very windy here and a really impressive place
with a superb smell of sage but relatively few birds.
Bald Eagle One adult along the Osooyos
to Chopaka road, fishing at a small lake.
Western Bluebird One female on wires.
Vesper Sparrow 5
Western Meadowlark One was flushed.
Common Nighthawk One over and one, probably
different, was flushed.
Lewis’s Woodpecker 2
Western Kingbird 1
After this fairly poor showing, we drove
off towards Manning. Dick had given us two stake-outs for Williamson’s Sapsucker
near Princeton. The first, August Lake, was reached by driving through Princeton
Golf Course and up the road for about four km to a superb lake in a meadow surrounded
by wooded hills. Birded in the woods but with a slight bear worry!
Barrow’s Goldeneye c5
Ruddy Duck c5
Blue-winged Teal Three female-types.
American Coot c15
Lesser Scaup 2
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Raven Two calling incessantly,
one of which was doing a very believable Pygmy Owl impression.
Pine Siskin Flock of c100.
Pygmy Nuthatch 1
Western Tanager Pair.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Muskrat One at the lake.
After drawing a blank here we drove into
Princeton, bought some bread and then drove nine km along Copper Mountain Road.
We also failed to find the sapsucker here but found a good selection of birds
around a small lake.
Western Pewee 1
Cliff Swallow 1
N. Rough-w. Swallow c5
Ruddy Duck Three and five juveniles.
American Wigeon 1
Barrow’s Goldeneye 1
Lesser Scaup Two females
and five juveniles. The females were initially thought to be Greater
Scaup on their rather rounded head-shape but Greaters breed much
further north so presumably Lessers.
American Coot 5
Eastern Kingbird 2
Ring-necked Duck One female.
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Blue-winged Teal One female flew
[Cinnamon Teal] A female duck seen
briefly but swam into lakeside vegetation and didn’t re- emerge.
Looked rather richly coloured, but is an upland lake really a likely habitat?
Left as one that got away.
After this, got a hot sandwich from a take-away
and drove back to Manning, camping again at the Hampton campsite.
species, 13 ticks.
Sunday 25th July
It was cold on waking and even colder up
at the Cascade Lookout where we spent an hour or two along the main track.
Clark’s Nutcracker 6
Grey Jay Two on the way up to
Townsend’s Solitaire One flew over the
road on the way up to the lookout.
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Mountain Chickadee 3
Hermit Thrush 3
Red-shafted Flicker 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Red-naped Sapsucker 1
Oregon Junco 2
Mule Deer One male.
We then drove back down to do the Beaver
Pond again, which was not so productive as hoped and there were also lots of
mozzies again. Also no Lincoln’s Sparrow again.
Red-tailed Hawk One sat on a stump
in the middle of the pond.
Red-naped Sapsucker 1
Common Yellowthroat Good views of a
Barrow’s Goldeneye A female and juvenile
Three-toed Woodpecker Neck-craning views
of a pair by the edge of the pond.
Chestnut-b. Chickadee Close views of
We then tried the "Monuments"
trail and walked about a km towards some meadow (I forget the name). Good birding
but mozzies bad and bear-shit on the path again!
N. Rough-w. Swallow 1
Towsend’s Warbler 6
Harlequin Duck A female photographed
by the bridge.
Western Pewee 1
Varied Thrush One heard and then
seen well but briefly.
Grey Jay 1
Wilson’s Warbler One or two males
seen in a bushy area along the trail; tiny and very active.
We then left for Vancouver with a few brief
stops and a quick walk up to Bridal Veil Falls (nothing much here). A tedious
drive through the streets of "Greater Vancouver" back to White Rock.
Hairy Woodpecker One by the road in
Manning on a fruitless stop for American Dippers.
Bonaparte’s Gull One adult flying
downstream along the Fraser Valley near Hope.
Turkey Vulture 8
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Bald Eagle One in the Vancouver
Pileated Woodpecker Two over the road
[Crow sp.] One near Hope by the
road looked big enough to be American?
Black Bear One lumbered across the
road in Manning. We U-turned and went back and got some photos.
Not a huge bear but an excellent end to the week!
Had a quick shower at White Rock and re-packed
and I then left Charles there and took the car back to the airport. After a
few hours sat around in the airport we were off back to Amstersdam, even more
sitting about and then finally back to Norwich by Monday afternoon.
species, 1 tick.