Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Next BC Bird: Tricolored Blackbird as selected by You!

Thanks for participating in this fun exercise! Some great comments and opinions out there, but I bet BC's next first will be something we didn't think about eh? If you have any interesting poll ideas for the blog please send me emails or comments-- I will read them all!

Take care and good birding,

Russ C

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Photo highlights from my wet coastal trip

On Sunday I left Kelowna at 4am to catch the 10:30am ferry out of Horseshoe Bay. I met Mike Ashbee in Nanaimo and we birded until dark between Yellow Point and Deep Bay. Our main target was Slaty-backed Gull but unfortunately we missed it. Still a great day though and I added RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD and AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (whether or not it counts) to the year list. Also loads and loads of seaducks and gulls along the coast. Truly a spectacle to behold (even though these numbers are down from past years and it's the tail end of the herring spawn).

I grabbed the 9pm ferry back to the mainland then birded the Vancouver area on Monday finding my first WILSON'S SNIPE of the year at the Iona Sewage Lagoons, my first Vancouver area AMERICAN TREE-SPARROWS (also at Iona), my first Vancouver REDHEAD (Reifel), gorgeous looks at an AMERICAN BITTERN (Reifel), and my first ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER of the year (Queen Elizabeth Park).

Photos (in order):

-2 young Great Blue Herons (Iona)
-American Black Duck pair (Yellow Point)
-mixed scoter and scaup flock (Deep Bay)
-ME and my great new sweater (Thanks Natalie, Kelsey, Colin, and Kevin!!!)
-Gadwall pair (Iona)
-American Bittern (Reifel)
-Fox Sparrow (Reifel)
-Rufous Hummingbird (Reifel)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bird #200 = Turkey Vulture in Kelowna!

Fun with Owls

On the 22nd I went up Gillies Creek to survey for screech-owls close to a large power-line upgrade project (near Skaha Bluffs). In addition to the pair of WESTERN SCREECH-OWLS who responded right away at my third stop I also had a male NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL that called constantly the entire time I was in the area, and coolest of all was a pair (I think) of LONG-EARED OWLS. From the sound of it, the male who give a series of deep hoots and then the female responded immediately with a loud horse "quack!"

The next night I returned to the same site to try and determine whether or not the screeches were nesting yet, so arrived just before dusk. The female responded immediately to my calls and was clearly not in a nest tree so I made my way over to the other side of the ravine to try and get a look-see. As darkness fell both owls started to call back and forth apparently hidden in a clump of mistletoe in a Douglas Fir. Then through the black (with the help of a quarter moon) I caught a glimpse of some movement low over the ground just 15 feet from my hiding place. I turned on the flashlight and WOW there was the female perched on a small stick projecting from the ground only 15 feet away. She glanced casually in my direction then continued to survey the habitat-- perhaps looking for the male I thought. A few minutes later I switched on the light again to see if she was still there-- not only that, but the male was now sitting 5 feet from my head on a low branch! Then he flew past my head and landed on a stump right behind me, and the pair began to call back and forth continuously with me silently grinning in the middle! After 5 or 10 minutes of that the male flew off towards the creek and started to hunt actively while the female changed perches (just behind me up the bank) and started giving constant twittering begging calls.

I have been lucky enough to see many Western Screech-Owls in my life but never before have I had the pleasure of watching a pair hunt and interact so freely for such a long period of time-- what an experience! I look forward to returning in April to confirm breeding. Other wildlife present included a pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS, several LITTLE BROWN BATS, and 3 NORTHERN FLYING-SQUIRRELS that gave me great visuals as they dashed from tree to tree giving high-pitched squeaks.

Then two nights ago my Dad and I did his usual owl survey along the KVR and Chute Lake Road above Naramata. It was the route's best run as we chalked up 3 saw-whets and 3 Great Horns, then on the way home we checked a few of his owl boxes and found one with 7 eggs in it--- "must be a saw-whet!" he said. Well I returned last night and sure enough (SEE PHOTO), he was right!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spotted Owl update

Check out this Vancouver Sun article detailing the Spotted Owl recovery plan for the future. Although it seems necessary at this point, it is a real shame it has come down to this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


From my post to BCINTBIRD:

There have been spotty feeder reports of single White-headed Woodpeckers dating back to last August and continuing through this winter, so since January I've made a point of making visits to the pine woods in the Camp McKinney area. On the 17th however, I received a reliable report of a pair in the forest around Porcupine Place and another possible bird on the Shrike Hill Road. Since then I have gone up there three times but only for a few hours at a time. Today my plan was to spend a full day but as it turns out I didn't need it!

I parked at the very end of Porcupine Road--- where an obvious gas-line cut runs off to the NW. I entered onto the crown land at the gate and headed up the hill (heading NE) for a while stopping to listen for tapping and any other sort of clue. In the distance flickers called and drummed constantly, and large groups of all three species of nuthatches, Cassin's Finches, Mountain Chickadees, Red Crossbills, and Clark's Nutcrackers all came in to investigate my pygmy-owl imitation but no prized white-heads. Having sufficiently covered the area where the pair had been seen I decided to head back down the hill to my car, then search the woods up near the McCuddy Ranch on Old Camp McKinney Road.

But as I approached the car I heard a soft drum... "could this be one?" I thought.... but then a flicker called and flew off the tree in question. "Darn" But then I heard tapping... "maybe this?" but then I discovered that it was a Hairy Woodpecker. I was about to cross the fence when my eye caught a flash of white.... THERE IT IS!!! A male WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER working a stump only a few meters from where I parked the car!!! I fired off a couple record shots, then proceeded to study the bird and confirm it's sex... certainly a male. After a few minutes he moved up to a nearby tree and continued to fleck bark and work the deadwood much like a Hairy. I called my Dad, and John and Mary Theberge (birders living just down the road) to exclaim my find. Just before the Theberges arrived the bird flew about 80 meters deeper into the woods but I managed to track it down and got them onto it. I took a few more photos and got some video clips which I will post on the blog this evening (after my Dad's book launch which I should get to right away!).

Some interesting observations of the bird:

-Mostly worked pine-beetle-killed trees (who says they only eat pine seeds?)
-Fed with a small party of Hairy Woodpecker
-On one occasion the WH showed a bit of dominance over the Hairy, chasing from a good-looking tree then continuing to feed
-Allowed me to approach fairly close but was clearly aware of my presence and at times looked a little nervous

Eventually after about 25 minutes of observation, he started calling continually and flew up to the top of a snag for about a minute before flying way up the hill. I tried running up and refinding it but no luck. About 30 minutes late Don Wilson and Nancy Krueger arrived but we couldn't relocate the bird (although the wind made things difficult).

YOUTUBE VIDEO LINKS (I am the mysterious Rusty Rizzer BTW):

Monday, March 22, 2010


Sometimes the link in the top right doesn't work, so if this is happening here is the URL:


Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21: LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (and falcons)

After catching a ride down to the coast with Jared and Mary-Ann, I met up with my Dad in West Van where we stayed with family friends. With a mixture of anxious pleasure and mild horror, I opened my email to find that Chris Charlesworth and Ryan Tomlinson had found a Loggerhead Shrike in the Okanagan-- why only when I am not there!!! So this morning (March 21rst) Dad and I left West Van at 7am and drove straight to White Lake where the bird had been seen the day before (it's practically on the way home anyways), but despite some concerted scanning we could not find any shrikes that were not of the "northern" variety. Tired and hungry we started to head to Penticton; my Dad had a funeral to attend so I figured after some grub and a shower I would head back out and explore the site some more. But as we exited the area via the Green Lake Road and started heading north out of OK Falls I got a call from Chris informing us that he was watching the bird right then! "Turn! Turn! Turn!"-- by chance we were just coming up to the north end of White Lake Road. So we headed back down the road and found Chris and Tanya Seebacher scanning the field where it had "JUST BEEN."

Of course of course... but, with the help of Tanya's eagle-eyes the bird was re-found foraging along a fence-line at the north end of the field. "YEEESSSSSS!!!!" I screamed. High-5s all around as this species has eluded me many times over the last 5 years, and what a time to get it! Chris and Tanya offered to take me along for the day so I gave another high-5 to Dad and hopped into the other vehicle. Instead of rest today would be another full birding day! We started off by walking across the field to get closer to the bird. We managed to get within 25 or so meters until we managed to lose it some how... he's a sneaky little thing! Out there we ran into a flock of 9 HORNED LARKS! Year birds for Chris and a lifer for Tanya!

From there we retraced by Dad's and my steps along the Green Lake Road; while stopping at the OK Falls drop-structure to tick off dipper and Barrow's Goldeneye for the day, Chris spotted a large falcon flying south against the cliffs-- "PRAIRIE FALCON!!!" I shouted. Another fantastic bird and another lifer for Tanya. I also added a couple year-birds in the area: VIOLET-GREEN and TREE SWALLOW.

We spent the rest of the day birding the south Okanagan-- a beautiful day that began with the shrike and ended at sunset near Rd. 22 where we spotted 3 more falcons flying over "The Throne" .... 2 PEREGRINES and 1 PRAIRIE... wow!!!

Ok, definitely time for bed now. Searching for White-headed Woodpeckers tomorrow!

March 17-20: Spotted Owls!

March 17: This morning Dad and I started out early for Lillooet, BC. He had to get to Vancouver to attend some meetings and give some talks on birds and I had to go looking for birds in the Stein Valley... not just birds but SPOTTED OWLS. Dad kindly offered to take a "scenic route" to the coast by cruising over to Spences Bridge, then down the Thompson River to Lytton where we turned north up the Fraser to Lillooet where I was to meet up with Jared Hobbs and Joel Gillis-- 2 of Canada's most knowledgeable Spotted Owl biologists. On the way of course we took a few side roads, finding my first RUFFED GROUSE of the year in Fountain Valley, and almost getting stuck up the Tom Cole Road north of Lillooet. Anyways, eventually we made it to the heli-pad on the east side of town (after a brief stop at local birder Ian Routley and his partner Vivian's beautiful house up on the hill). My Dad said his goodbyes and I hopped in the chopper with pilot Scott, Jared and Joel, and UBC Forestry student- Marianne Secrest.

As we gained altitude and headed southwest to the Stein Valley, passing over endless white mountain peaks and giant fir forests, I recalled my previous Spotted Owl work with Jared in September of last year. That trip had been my introduction to the job and to the owls... as luck would have it we ended up at "Billy Goat Creek"-- possibly one of the hardest avian field-sites to work in the province with it's 45 degree slopes, wet mossy tallus, and thick underbrush. Having said that, getting to live with a pair of Spotted Owls for 3 days and 3 nights was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Anyways, back to the present! Here we were heading to the Stein-- usually one of the easiest Spotty sites to work since most of the habitat is at valley bottom with a hiking trail running through it. This would have been a cake-walk in comparison if it wasn't for a fire that ripped through the valley last summer, resulting in a significant amount of dead-fall over the trail... plus the few feet of snow that remains in the area despite the early spring. I guess my point is that because of habitat mismanagement and the range-expansion and aggressiveness of Barred Owls, Canada's Spotted Owls now only exist in remote areas that are very hard for average human beings to access. And we also realized too late that we should have brought snow-shoes!

After an awesome heli-ride we touched down near our first campsite where a pair of Spotties had been detected last year. That evening we split into two groups: Joel and I heading one way up the valley, and Jared and Marianne heading the other way. It was tough going in the deep snow and burned areas but we managed nonetheless. After a couple unsuccessful hours at our end of the survey area, Jared came onto the radio quietly exclaiming that the had found a pair of Spotted Owls about 3 KM downriver from us! With nothing happening in our area we hopped, ran, fell, climbed, and swore as we ducked and scrambled our way past burnt logs, scree slopes, and creeks concealed by snow. Eventually, sweating like crazy we met up with the other two just in time to see both birds! Oh what a sight! The male gave his 4 part hoot, then the female responded with a "kuu-weeeep!" call, then they both chattered away in a manner somewhat similar to excited Barred Owls... definitely in courtship mode we thought. Perhaps they will attempt nesting this year! Before heading back to camp I captured a short video of the female (TOP RIGHT OF BLOG PAGE)-- perhaps the last time a Spotted Owl will be filmed in Canada... I sincerely hope not. There are so few of these birds left in BC (probably less than 10) so a moment like this, as brief as it was is truly special, and I wanted to share it with everyone. It is possible that this is the last pair in Canada since the female I saw last fall near Billy Goat recently passed away.

So why have Spotted Owls become so scarce in BC? They rely on old-growth fir and cedar forests for nesting and hunting opportunities, and due to unchecked logging practices in the past and present this habitat-type has been severely degraded and fragmented across southwestern BC. Check out my dad's recent blog entry from March 17-- he gives a great account of the species' status and sums things up most appropriately:

On our way back to camp I was riding high on the "Spotted Owl Cloud" -- nothing else mattered. Well, hearing a pack of wolves sounding off 1 km up the valley was pretty thrilling... but I had just seen THE OWLS again! I was so lucky to be with them again, and with such knowledgeable people like Jared and Joel who have worked with these birds for over 10 years.

March 18/19- Today we moved to a new camp down river. In past years, another pair of Spotted Owls nested in a broken cottonwood near the river (the first time this species has been recorded nesting in this tree in North America). Here titanic groves of fir, spruce, cedar, cottonwood, and pine dominated the valley bottom where the Stein River meanders back and forth providing a perfect home for countless pairs of American Dippers and many other creatures. Unfortunately no Spotted Owls were detected in our two and a half days here. Several other owls made appearances though-- 3 Norther Pygmy Owls, 3 Barred Owls, and 2 Northern Saw-whet Owls (including 1 that called well into the day). Spring is here! Everywhere we went Varied Thrushes, American Robins, and Winter Wrens belted out their songs, and on the evening of the 19th I heard a SOOTY GROUSE giving its hooting display (another year bird!).

We flew out on the 20th but took a long route to Lillooet in order to map out some other fires and look for some possible snake den sites. While flying particularly close to a hillside east of Lytton a noticed a female DUSKY GROUSE flush and fly up the hill-- another year bird and a new helicopter tick!!!

What a trip... I'm falling asleep as I write this so I hope the story has been readable. I really hope I can tell you all about the owls in person as I make my way around the province this year as they are truly the most endearing and trusting owls I have encountered while travelling North America and other parts of the world. If only there was a feasible way to ensure the survival of future generations in the wilds of BC.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 14: Grassland Bonanza

This morning Jared and I got up early to hike around the grasslands to see what we could see. Turns out there are some gems to be had! WESTERN MEADOWLARKS sang in every directions, a few newly arrived male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS flitted from sage to sage inspecting the ground for insects, and several small groups of SHARP-TAILED GROUSE flushed up totaling at least 14 birds.

The rest of the morning was taken up by one bird and one bird alone. One of those moments that birders and nature-lovers alike dream about...

As we drove down a dusty road Jared pointed out a lump just ahead perched atop a fence-line. "Just a weird rock placed up there?" we thought, but we drew nearer I could tell "the shape" was that of a large falcon; "too big to be real," I thought. "No, it IS a falcon! Stop! Stop! Stop!" Staring at us from up on the hill was the biggest GYRFALCON either of us had ever seen. After ooing and awwing out of the back window of the truck, Jared concocting a plan for photography. I would ease the truck back up the hill while Jared set-up his heavy-duty equipment in the box and get ready to fire. But as we got into position the bird flushed off the fence post and flew across the road about 50 meters in front of us. For a few moments our hearts sank as we watched the bird fly away. But then it suddenly turned and came towards us only to land on a rock just meters from the road. As we crept nearer it became obvious that "she" had some prey splayed out on the boulder and we watched with glee and delight as a drake Mallard was devoured. I'll let Jared's photos speak for themselves! I shot a few out the window and have included one, but to really show-off this gorgeous bird only the best will do! Although I have seen gyrs rip up pigeons several times, never have I experienced such a large individual and so close! Not to mention the great light and awesome natural surroundings.

A great weekend up in the Thompson!

March 13: Tranquille Creek

After driving up to Kamloops from Penticton on Friday (and finding some goodies like Iceland Gull in Kelowna and 5 Eurasian Wigeons near Armstrong), I joined Jared Hobbs and some TRU grad students on a rattlesnake hike up Tranquille Creek. It was a beautiful day for a hike and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves up there. Bird-wise there wasn't a heck of a lot, but here and there we found some good stuff. There were good numbers of thrushes showing signs of spring fever including several VARIED THRUSH, many piping TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRES, and of course good numbers of robins. Raptors were in good evidence as well including a couple RED-TAILED HAWKS, several GOLDEN and BALD EAGLES, a MERLIN (and probable nest), and best of all a new year bird... what a beauty!--- a flyby PRAIRIE FALCON!!! #190 for the year and the first Prairie I've seen since early 2008.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March 8/9: More Okanagan birding

March 8:

On Monday, Denny and I spent most of our time searching for grouse up in the hills above Penticton. In terms of grouse we were unsuccessful but once again we found hordes of nuthatches as well as a good mix of other forest species. Boy was a cold wind blowing today! We tried watching for Prairie Falcons around the Throne but the wind made things very unpleasant so we retreated to the car and cruised the Oliver feedlot-- where we found the male RUSTY BLACKBIRD who is now coming into alternate plumage, difficult to spot especially in poor light! On the drive home we spotted a single (Tundra) GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE feeding with Canadas near Vaseux Lake.

Tonight we tried something different, instead of hitting all the same places for Boreal Owl we hiked off-road to the far end of the Ellis Creek Reservoir. It was a chilly night up there-- at least -15 by my estimation-- but the stars, the Milky Way, Mars, and even the International Space Station made things quite beautiful. But how about the birds? Well... nothing doing once again. We did here one whistled note that could have been a Boreal Owl but it came from the opposite end of the reservoir so certainly not what we were hoping for. A distant pack of coyotes were about the only other living things we detected up there.

March 9:

Today Chris Dale and I headed north to Kelowna to tour around some of the hotspots. We stopped by Strathcona Park on the lake where several thousand gulls were scattered on the beach and out on the lake. Mostly Cals of course, but 4 other species were present as well as a few groups of migrant dabblers. Next it was up Beaver Lake Road where the grasslands yielded almost nothing (crazy considering the lovely sun and recent reports of phoebes, bluebirds etc. from a couple days ago here!). Up in the forest however we started putting up a good list including a flock of VARIED THRUSHES (one pictured), many MOUNTAIN and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, PINE SISKENS, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, as well as a couple HAIRY WOODPECKERS, DOWNY WOODPECKERS, 3 GOLDEN EAGLES, a PILEATED WOODPECKERS, and a distant flock of what I'm sure were COMMON REDPOLLS (getting a little late for these guys).

Further up on the Dee Lake Road we ran into a couple AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS, a single NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL, a BROWN CREEPER, and best of all-- 3 BOREAL CHICKADEES (pictured... out of focus unfortunately).

We tried for Black-backs up Gillard Creek but the sun started going down and the birds were going to bed so... we called it a day. Getting quite chilly too!

Here's hoping a day back in the south OK will be warmer tomorrow!

March 7: Ptarmigan Hunt

This morning and early afternoon Denny Hodsdon and I birded the upper reaches of the Ashnola River Road hoping to relocate Chris and Ryan's famous ptarmigan. We parked at KM 46 alongside several other trucks-- yes unfortunately we shared ptarmigan country with ~12 snow mobiles. We walked the track up to KM 48, taking a few side trips through the deep snow (pictured) then turned back.

As expected there were lots of ptarmigan sign: tracks, tracks, and more tracks, droppings, and wing-markings. Despite all this fresh sign though we couldn't find any actual birds... I bet those machines flushed them off the path JUST before we got there. But it wasn't all failure; no we did get some nice birds. The forest below the clearcuts was chalk-full of AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS drumming and calling away; I figured there were at least 11 along a 2 km stretch. Also in there were a couple HAIRY WOODPECKERS, a single PILEATED WOODPECKER, a calling male GREAT HORNED OWL, flocks of MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES (pictured), and a flyover GRAY-CROWNED ROSYFINCH.

Another great highlight came after we had accepted defeat and started driving down the hill-- from the roadside a bird with white outer tail feathers flushed and landed 50 meters further along... a junco I thought? Better check......... after a bit of scrutiny it dawned on us that it was a SNOW BUNTING albeit a very drab one (first-winter female?). Down on the road collecting grit evidently, and BC Year Bird # 189 (not counting grouse sp.)!!!

Later on in the evening we joined up with Chris Dale of Squamish for another bout of Boreal Owling. When we got up to Ellis Dam it was raining lightly but eventually it cleared off. Very quiet at the dam and throughout most of the evening. The only for-sure owl species we recorded was a BARRED OWL calling at KM 27 on the 201 Rd. We also heard several mystery noises including a possible NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL at the dam (rarely heard at night), a possible BOREAL OWL at Rabbit Lake (gave 4 rapid toot notes then shut up), and another bird that hooted repeatedly near Rabbit Lake but couldn't be tracked down. My best guess is that it was a female GREAT HORNED OWL giving a begging call from the nest. While we explored the Rabbit Lake area it was a very peaceful night, what with the quiet boreal forest and the large flakes beginning to fall all around us, captured in our torched beams... what am I thinking? I'm supposed to be finding a Boreal Owl for Denny, no time for relaxation! A couple more hours of effort revealed nothing. What is happening up here? Are the Barred Owls eating everything? I guess we'll have to go out again tomorrow night!

March 5/6: Owling and more Okanagan birding

This morning we birded the southern part of the valley concentrating mostly in the upper elevations. First we spent an hour patrolling the back roads of Summerland and Penticton trying to find a Bohemian Waxwing (a novelty bird for an Arizonite). After seeing 400 in my parents’ yard 3 days ago, it seems as if these birds have mostly departed north. Anybody else see any today? Anyways, we did eventually get 1-- staked out at Mom and Dad's front yard... this guy must have squeezed out a couple extra minutes at the bird bath and missed the flock!

Next we headed up Shuttleworth (out of OK Falls) where the sunshine provided great conditions for birding. Loads of GRAY JAYS and CLARK'S NUTCRACKERS (pictured) everywhere we went, and the juncos have moved up there already. I suppose the top three highlights up there were a single male PINE GROSBEAK (great in the sun!), a soaring adult NORTHERN GOSHAWK (ditto), and a drumming AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. We also heard several singing BROWN CREEPERS and flushed an unIDed grouse... pah.

On our drive down we stopped at km 3 hoping to whistle up a Black-back but instead we had to settle for all 3 species of nuthatch, a western bluebird, and a small flock of red crossbills all in the same small fir tree! At one point there were 8 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES (pictured) in the same tree-- what a treat!

I finally found my year-bird SAY'S PHOEBE singing at the classic spot at the gravel-end of River Road in Oliver, then we moved along to Osoyoos Lake where no yellow-billed loons were to be found. Scoping conditions were perfect but 6 COMMON LOONS was our best attempt (including 1 bird in close to full breeding plumage).

Then it was up Anarchist to follow in Doug's footsteps; first we cruised through Regal Ridge with not much doing, then up around Sidley Mountain Road where my year-bird MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS we waiting, along with a few WESTERN MEADOWLARKS, and a couple RED-TAILED HAWKS and BALD EAGLES (unfortunately no Harlan's detected!). A side-trip through "downtown" Bridesville produced another surprise SAY'S PHOEBE as well as hoards of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS (waiting patiently for their marshes to unfreeze). Then it was onto the Bridesville-Rock Creek Back Road which didn't turn up much out of the ordinary on our first pass, but when we returned just after dark we picked up a beauty--- GREAT GRAY OWL (pictured), perched in a Ponderosa Pine right beside the road. Not a bad way to finish the day, and good to see that these birds are still in the area after Doug Brown found them breeding here last spring.

Chasing Chris and Ryan's ptarmies tomorra!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Boreal Owl and another Great Gray!

Hey gang,

The last couple days and nights have been grand! I've been out birding with an Arizonian (Arizonite?) over the last couple days and the highlights have been endless... will post new photos and a full update on Monday when the dust has settled. Just a little taste: Last night we heard a Boreal Owl at close range but could not get a look, then tonight we spotted a Great Gray Owl on the side of the road and got fantastic looks-- a lifer for my friend! A few other year birds today including SAY'S PHOEBE and MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (also grouse sp...)

Stay tuned!


Friday, March 5, 2010

#184: Western Screech-Owl

Last night I decided it was high time to go pick up a screech-owl so I drove over to one of my favourite spots near White Lake and within 2 minutes the male responded. Let's hope everything else will be that easy!

Boreal Owl hunting this weekend-- wish me luck!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Full Bird List Now Available

Hi everyone,

I've uploaded my full year list to most of the yahoo groups around the province so feel free to check it out... still some easy ones left before spring as you can see! It is located in the Russell Big Year Folder-- should be obvious.

Lots of bird action around the feeder lately including a family of red crossbills, a townsend's solitaire, loads of bohemian waxwings, and lots of the other stuff.

I've been spending too much time in the office, time to go find some owls!


Monday, March 1, 2010

#183 Western Meadowlark

At least 1 meadowlark has returned to the grasslands behind my parents' house in Penticton. A lovely sign of things to come.

Should get some swallows, Say's Phoebe, and Mountain Bluebird soon!