We camped overnight at the side of the road, next to the Vaseux Lake conservation area; a small reserve coated in reedbeds and willow woodland, ideal for potential migrant species. This is where we started our day, but we had very limited success with very few passerines in the bushes.
As a result we decided to explore the cliff faces behind the reserve for Canyon Wren but unfortunately they eluded us, despite hearing them singing at numerous locations. The cliff faces did have some good birds but the fact that they were on the shadow side of the rising sun probably affected their productivity.
We also had a drive round some of the farmland above the lake, by the time which we visited was in open sunshine, and here we had a few more birds. We spent another hour driving along these roads, scanning the fence-lines and bushes for anything, as well as scanning the cliff faces for Canyon Wrens or any roosting raptors.
We returned to the Vaseux Lake conservation area late morning and had much more success with birding. The warmer conditions clearly benefitted many of the songbirds and made them much easier to spot within the willow woodland. Because the site was so small though, we did not spend an enormous amount of time on our return visit.
White-throated Swift - Our bird highlight for the morning! It was nice to catch up with this species, as it was one that we thought we would be too early to see. They were extremely smart, a lot smaller than we had thought they were going to be.
Coyote - We awoke in the morning, after spending the night camping by the side of the main road. Our campsite overlooked an area of open marsh, and 10 minutes after we awoke, a Coyote sauntered out into the open. It wandered around quite content for the rest of the time that we spent there.
Wolf - It turned into quite the morning for large mammals; in addition to the Coyote we also had Bighorn Sheep, and then topped off with a Wolf resting from the sun under the cover of a medium sized shrub. It sat there for some time before it decided to get up and wander off. A truly amazing encounter!
Vaseux Lake: Canada Goose, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Redhead, California Quail, Red-necked Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Northern Diver, American Coot, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Bonaparte’s Gull, Mew Gull, Northern Flicker, Red-naped Sapsucker, Merlin, American Kestrel, Mourning Dove, Rufous Hummingbird, White-throated Swift, Steller’s Jay, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, Northern Raven, European Starling, Marsh Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Warbling Vireo, Say’s Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Cassin’s Finch, Spotted Towhee, Vespers Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Coyote, Wolf, Bighorn Sheep, Red-eared Slider, Steller’s Orange-tip,
Once we had finished birding around Vaseux Lake we headed up into the mountains above the Okanagan valley to an area of woodland that could potentially hold breeding Townsend’ Solitaire. Unfortunately we had no luck with that species, and the woodland was generally quiet except for the occasional wave of warblers that passed through; but only composed of Audubon’s and Nashville. There were a number of songs and calls echoing around the woodland but sadly we were unable to identify the majority. We only spent an hour working the woodland before we moved on.
Dusky Grouse - The highlight of our visit to this area was undoubtedly one of these mid-sized gamebirds strolling down the middle of the path. It was our first real look at a grouse, after the brief views of Sooty we had at Manning Park; it was nice to be able to really get a look and a solid identification!
Shuttleworth Creek Road: Dusky Grouse, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Turkey Vulture, White-throated Swift, Northern Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Audubon’s Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Marmot, California Tortoiseshell, Brown Elfin,
In order to make good time on our journey to the next site, we headed off north early afternoon. Our next destination was the small town of Kamloops, a two hour drive from Okanagan. The majority of the journey was on a single road, the 5A, which helpfully passed a number of lakes and small water bodies that we could stop and scan over. So we enjoyed a rather relaxed journey, with frequent stops for casual birding.
Trumpeter Swan: The only new birds for us on this journey were a distant pair of these large swans on the first lake that we came across. We were optimistic for pelicans, so when we spotted two large white birds we were extremely excited, but when they turned out to be swans we would be lying if we said we weren’t a little disappointed.
Wildfowl: What was really awesome was that every small lake we passed had really good numbers of wildfowl on it. There was a really good variety of ducks on offer, as well as coots, divers and grebes, including our first Black-necked Grebes of the trip.
5A: Trumpeter Swan, Canada Goose, Ruddy Duck, Redhead, American Wigeon, Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Goosander, Black-necked Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver, American Coot, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Killdeer, American Kestrel, Collared Dove, American Crow, Northern Raven, Clark’s Nutcracker, European Starling, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Nashville Warbler, Audubon’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Western Meadowlark, Brewer’s Blackbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird, White-crowned Sparrow, Muskrat,