After working in Revelstoke for a week or so, I had some days off so Sam and I explored a bit of the Columbia/Rockies/Kootenays. First we checked out my future work site in Bush Arm (Kinbasket Lake). As you can tell from the following photo it is a breathtaking place and really reminds me of the Waimakariri/Arthur's Pass area in New Zealand. This massive braided-river valley is where I will be spending the rest of June-- not bad eh? It's also where a Black-necked Stilt had been hanging out until the day I went there (I suppose this guy can join Harris's Sparrow as a nemesis this year!). We did however run into a couple LECONTE'S SPARROWS which is always a treat on the west side of the Rockies. Probably annual breeders but how many birders have checked out Bush Arm before?
After visiting some friends in Golden we struck out for Nakusp early the next morning. On the Galena Bay/Shelter Bay ferry I was once again reminded of New Zealand, this time of Fiordland Nation Park... what a breathtaking part of BC! You can't see a single house; mountain meets water in such a spectacular way and there are BARN SWALLOWS nesting on the ferry! (in the photo, look for the brown clump under the captain's bridge) They simply follow the boat back and forth all day; I wonder how long it takes to build the nest!
Once in Nakusp it started to rain, we tried birding around Summit Lake for a bit but retreated to the vehicle after an hour or so and took shelter further south in the gorgeous and CELL PHONE-FREE Slocan Valley town of New Denver. We both really enjoyed this quaint area and met a lot of nice folks. It was a great place to unwind and forget about birds for at least a moment!
The next day we headed back to Nakusp and the "secret" non-commercial hotsprings north of town. This capped the weekend off in primo fashion.
Upon returned to cell range and civilization I now know that by relaxing in Kootenay Heaven I missed out on CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR and BLACK-THROATED SPARROW.
Pah! I explored a part of this province I had never seen before, finally caught up on some much-needed rest, and most importantly-- I got away from it all with my special someone and reinforced my belief that this year is not only about a list of birds, but a list of memories and adventures...
what comes next? I can't wait!
Currently in Revelstoke, BC (tomorrow=heading into the mountains for a few...)