Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan 18: Part Two - Williams Lake to Coast

After having a great time with the hawk-owl (photos below), we headed back to Williams Lake (and spotted another hawk-owl at location #1). Phil took us to a house where an adult Harris's Sparrow had been spending the winter. Unfortunately for us it appears the warm weather had driven off the juncos and the associating sparrow in recent days so we came way empty-handed. Phil bid us fairwell back at the Timmy's and he thanked him for the fantastic day. He told us about a local who has been reporting a Boreal Owl coming out at dusk near a house west of town. We decided to go follow up on that and we eventually tracked down Tom Arduini who claimed to see it quite frequently around 5pm. Since this small owl (whatever it is) seems to be loyal to such a small area (enough to be seen multiple times a week after dark), I thought it would be a good idea to search the surrounding woods for its roosting spot. Within minutes I found a perch covered in heavy white-wash and on the ground lay a medium-sized pellet. Later we found a very large pellet--no doubt from a Great Horned Owl, and since the first pellet was too large for a saw-whet, perhaps there was indeed a Boreal Owl nearby! We searched and searched in the fading light but alas no luck. I did add another yearbird though: PINE GROSBEAK. Kevin spotted this bird sitting low in an aspen, feeding on the buds.

It was around this time, as Kevin and I waited in the car for a small owl to fly across the road, that Chris Charlesworth and Al McTavish simultaneously called me about the Oriental Turtle-Dove. At first I didn't even consider as a possibility, but when Kevin said he was game for anything, the wheel starting spinning in my head and we started planning for an immediate trip. After waiting a bit longer for the owl and calling for Boreal into the darkness with no joy, we headed back to Kevin's parents' place for one last meal. Chris and Barb Easthope spoiled us with juicy ribs (photo), and Barb prepared a goodie-bag of snacks and bevies for the long road ahead! THANKS SO MUCH GUYS! Having refueled ourselves and the vehicle, we left Williams Lake around 7:10pm and began out trip to the coast via the extremely foggy Fraser Canyon. We crept through that stuff at about 50km/hour in a 90 zone, but finally when we hit Hope things openned up and we enjoyed a traffic-free ride through the Fraser Valley, then down Hwy 10 to Ladner. We arrived at the Reifel/Alaksen Gate around 3am and we pleased to spot a BARN OWL perched on a CWS sign (year-tick!). At the gate itself a WINTER WREN gave its full cascading song and continued to do so through the night and all through the following day. We slept in that car that night and didn't stir until Pete Davidson cruised by on his bike. I chatted with him about the dove and other local birds, and then we dug into the remnants of Kevin's mom's snack bags for breakfast.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go, your in "5th place" !! Thats amazing- you're super awesome Russell! Keep it up and you'll be number one in no time. :)