Sunday, January 10, 2010

Birding the South

Ann Gibson and Tanya Seebacher picked me up this morning and we headed to the great South Okanagan for a full day of birding. Our first stop was along the Okanagan Lakeshore in Penticton where a male EURASIAN WIGEON put on a nice show and 4 yes 4 MEW GULLS were together along the beach. This is the first time I've heard of more thatn 2 at a time anywhere anytime in the southern interior of the province (the photo contains 3 Mews... can you find them?).

Next we drove straight south and up the Richter Pass in hopes of finding the rosy-finches and snow buntings reported there a week ago. Not surprisingly these birds have moved on but a great compensation was seeing close to 100 CHUKAR (tick) running all over the road and up the hillside beside the Elkink Ranch's feed pile (poor photo included). Deffinitely the most reliable place to see these birds in the province (in winter anyways)!

From there we retreated back to the valley where a stop in at Haynes Points Provincial Park produced several highlights, namely a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and a GRAY CATBIRD!!!! Doug Brown found this bird in December but unfortunately no one was able to find it on the Christmas Count or since... but it's still there! My first winter catbird (and year tick), what a treat!

Further north at the Osoyoos Hwy bridge we scoped the lake and spotted 3 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and a dark PACIFIC LOON. I also scoped a familiar face further up the shoreline and on a closer approach sure enough it was Doug Brown himself! He joined up with us for the rest of the day as we scoured Rd. 22 for the likes of Harris's Sparrows and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. No joy unfortunately for those targets but a male RUSTY BLACKBIRD with a flock of Red-wings and Brewer's was nice, and the usual mix of hawks and ducks gave us some things to look at. Doug spotted a WILSON'S SNIPE in the car behind me (missed year tick!)... I'll get that one eventually I'm sure!

A great day, total year list stands at 139!

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