Birding Kelowna to Osoyoos, B.C. September 11, 2021

I had the pleasure of birding with three ladies from Kelowna today. We met at Rotary Beach, along Lakeshore Road in Kelowna. Here, we hoped to find some shorebirds feeding along the muddy shoreline and we were not disappointed. Included were Sanderlings, Semipalmated Plover, Western Sandpipers and a Pectoral Sandpiper. An immature Bonaparte’s Gull flew around, and was occasionally joined by a Common Tern.

At the mouth of Mission Creek the highlight was a first year Franklin’s Gull, as well as a Sanderling, a Baird’s Sandpiper and a Least Sandpiper, and a few more views of the Common Tern.

A stop at Sunoka Provincial Park in Summerland’s Trout Creek area, turned out to be a very productive one for migrant passerines. There were Wilson’s, Yellow-rumped, MacGillivray’s, Orange-crowned and a locally rare Tennessee warbler present, as well as Common Yellowthroat, Evening Grosbeak and Warbling Vireo.

At the north end of Vaseux Lake, we walked the boardwalk to the viewing tower. There were a few songbirds in the bushes along the boardwalk, such as Bewick’s Wren, Gray Catbird, and Wilson’s, Yellow and Orange-crowned warblers. A continuing adult Tundra Swan was seen through the scope along with some other waterfowl, such as Wood Duck, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal.

At an undisclosed location we had a nice treat today, the sighting of 13 Burrowing Owls in a field. These birds are reintroduced and it is encouraging to see a good number of young birds out today.

Next up, we visited the pine forests along McKinney Road in Oliver. The area was torched by a forest fire this summer, so it was quite charred, but there were still some birds about, including all three nuthatches (Red-breasted, White-breasted and Pygmy), Red-naped Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker and Red Crossbills.

A walk along the dykes at Road 22 was pleasant, but produced no surprises in the bird department. There were the usual Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawks, Ospreys and a Merlin about. Weedy areas had some sparrows including Song, Savannah, White-crowned and Lincoln’s.

We began the northward journey, next stopping along White Lake Road amongst the sweet smelling sagebrush. On the mud at the lake were two shorebirds, a juvenile Sanderling and a Western Sandpiper. Along Twin Lakes Road we were surprised to find a lingering Sage Thrasher on a fence post. Our day’s tally was about 85 species, which is not too shabby for a day in September.

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Tundra Swan; Wood Duck; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; American Wigeon; Mallard; Green-winged Teal; Hooded Merganser; Common Merganser; California Quail; Red-necked Grebe; Horned Grebe; Western Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; American Coot; Semipalmated Plover; Killdeer; Sanderling; Baird’s Sandpiper; Least Sandpiper; Pectoral Sandpiper; Western Sandpiper; Spotted Sandpiper; Bonaparte’s Gull; Franklin’s Gull; Ring-billed Gull; California Gull; Herring Gull; Glaucous-winged Gull; Common Tern; Common Loon; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Bald Eagle; Red-tailed Hawk; Burrowing Owl; Red-naped Sapsucker; Downy Woodpecker; Hairy Woodpecker; Northern Flicker; American Kestrel; Merlin; Say’s Phoebe; Warbling Vireo; Steller’s Jay; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Violet-green Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; White-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Bewick’s Wren; Marsh Wren; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Mountain Bluebird; American Robin; Sage Thrasher; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; American Pipit; Evening Grosbeak; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch; Spotted Towhee; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Lincoln’s Sparrow; White-crowned Sparrow; Western Meadowlark; Red-winged Blackbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Tennessee Warbler; Orange-crowned Warbler; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Wilson’s Warbler.

Okanagan Valley, B.C. September 8-10, 2021

Sep 8 – I met up with my client, Anthony from Ontario, and enjoyed a fantastic day of birding in the Central Okanagan area. Our first stop was at Sutherland Hills Park, an excellent place for an introduction to the common birds of the ponderosa forest in this part of the world. We crossed over Mission Creek, and had a Belted Kingfisher, but no dippers. California Quail put on a nice show, and uttered their comical calls from the understory. Red-shafted Northern Flickers were common in park, and Downy Woodpecker was heard, but not seen. A group of Pygmy Nuthatches moved through the trees, providing us with good views of this ‘Okanagan specialty’ (as far as Canada is concerned). A few migrants in the trees included Warbling Vireos, Yellow-rumped Warblers and a lingering Western Wood-Pewee. Gray Catbirds, Swainson’s Thrushes and Spotted Towhees scratched about in the leaflitter, while a Western Tanager showed off its nice white wing bars in a cherry tree.

Our next stop was at the Chichester Bird Sanctuary, where we hoped to find a lingering Cinnamon Teal. After searching through the dozens of Mallards, the Cinnamon Teal was seen and photographed. Another exciting photo subject here was a roosting Great Horned Owl.

We then climbed up out of the valley bottom, exploring Beaver Lake Road, near Lake Country. The first several kilometers of road go through grassland habitat where we had some nice birds including Say’s Phoebe, Mountain Bluebird, Western Meadowlark, Vesper Sparrow, American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk and Northern Harrier. Once we entered the forest, each stop produced Red-breasted Nuthatches and Mountain Chickadees, American Robins and Yellow-rumped Warblers. At one particular stop we enjoyed watching a pair of Townsend’s Solitaires, one of which fought off some robins to defend some berries, and another of which sat motionless in a tall pine snag. Finches were not numerous, but we did have a group of 3 female type Cassin’s Finches, and a single Evening Grosbeak at different locations along Beaver Lake Road this morning. Cassin’s Vireo sang at one location, but wouldn’t come out to see us, however a Red-naped Sapsucker cooperated nicely and perched in the open for a few moments.

At Beaver Lake itself, we had several Common Loons on the lake. A group of Steller’s Jays, B.C.’s official provincial bird, came in to look for scraps when we had a snack. A couple of Clark’s Nutcrackers flew over, but didn’t hang about. We had a slightly better look at another flyover nutcracker later as well. Osprey and a young Bald Eagle were along the edge of the lake, in search of fish. Another surprise, we had a black colored Yellow Pine Chipmunk here, something that I have only seen once before.

We walked Crooked Lake Road, searching for boreal species, including Am. Three-toed Woodpecker. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the woodpecker, but we did see some Canada Jays, a Pacific Wren, Brown Creepers, the ‘Oregon’ race of Dark-eyed Junco and a lingering Hammond’s Flycatcher along the way. At Crooked Lake there were two female Ring-necked Ducks. On our way back down Beaver Lake Road, we had great views of a male Dusky Grouse on the side of the road.

Along Mission Creek I was able to find us a roosting Western Screech-Owl, one of the avian highlights of the day. A rather small Black Bear was seen swimming across Mission Creek, before it disappeared into the riparian woodlands on the other side.

We then headed up into the mountainous areas east of Kelowna, off Highway 33, where we had an excellent showing of woodpeckers. At one location we had a lovely male Black-backed Woodpecker, a couple of Hairy Woodpeckers, a Pileated Woodpecker and a Northern Flicker all pecking away together. Highlight here, however, was a Northern Pygmy-Owl, one of several lifers for my Anthony today.

As we finished off our way, we took a spin through the parking lot at Willow Park Mall. A Short-billed Gull, the new name for Mew Gull, had been frequenting this parking lot and it didn’t take us too long to spot it sitting up atop the roof at McDonald’s. All in all, it was a fantastic day of birding.

Sep 9 – We began along the shore of Okanagan Lake this morning, at the mouth of Mission Creek in Kelowna. This location is good for waterbirds, shorebirds, gulls and the like, often attracting unusual species. Shorebirds included several Killdeer, a juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper and a juvenile Sanderling. Anthony saw his first California Gulls and Glaucous-winged Gulls here, as well as Bonaparte’s, Ring-billed and Herring gulls. There were a few Red-necked Grebes out on the lake, as well as some super distant Western Grebes. A lingering Western Wood-Pewee foraged for insects from a large cottonwood. Next up, at nearby Rotary Beach, we had our first Wood Duck of the tour, as well as a Pied-billed Grebe and a little group of sandpipers that included 5 Western Sandpipers and 2 possible Pectoral Sandpipers, but they flew off as we arrived.

We then headed across the lake to Peachland where our next stop was at Hardy Falls. We strolled up Deep Creek, enjoying views of the spawning Kokanee along the way. Birds were few and far between in here this morning, but we spotted our target species nonetheless. Two American Dippers, an adult and a juvenile, were watching at length from one of the wooden bridges that cross over the stream. Just another lifer for Anthony.

Continuing south, we headed for the White Lake area, checking in first, along Twin Lakes Road. As we slowly drove along Twin Lakes Road I spotted one of our best birds of the day sitting on a fencepost, a Sage Thrasher! This is a rather late record for this rare and local sagebrush specialty. Further along we stopped to look at some re-introduced Burrowing Owls. Overhead were about 200 Violet-green Swallows and a few Barn Swallows mixed in. Sparrows included Savannah, White-crowned and Vesper. Several Western Meadowlarks were noted and some Horned Larks were heard overhead.

As we drove down Green Lake Road, we paused to check for migrants in a brushy depression and were rewarded with Orange-crowned, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Cassin’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray Catbird and a brief view of a Canyon Wren. Another stop along Green Lake Road, this time down by the Okanagan River Channel, produced our only Bewick’s Wren of the tour.

At the Vaseux Cliffs we had fantastic views of a Canyon Wren. Some migrants were present, and the best of them was a lingering Gray Flycatcher, another rare and local Okanagan specialty. There were at least 5 Townsend’s Solitaires at one location as well, where they were feasting on elderberries. The local herd of ‘California’ Bighorn Sheep were resting in the shade and feasting on grass as well. All three species of nuthatches, Pygmy, White-breasted and Red-breasted, tallied in the pines here. At the north end of Vaseux Lake we got good views of a Tundra Swan, as well as various other waterfowl. There was a first year Short-billed Gull here as well, and a Black-bellied Plover fed on a sandbar, alongside a Wilson’s Snipe.

As we tried to make our way south to Osoyoos we got turned around by an accident that had closed the highway by Gallagher Lake. Our detour took us along Fairview Road, where we had hoped to bypass the snarl, but to our dismay there was another accident that had closed that road as well. We finally found a way to get through and our next stop was at Kruger Mountain Road near Osoyoos. We could not find any Lesser Goldfinches here, but we did get some other goodies such as Anthony’s first Western Bluebirds, Cassin’s Finch, Western Tanager, Steller’s Jays, Chipping Sparrows and more.

Our final stop of the day was at The Throne, near the north end of Osoyoos Lake. The towering cliffs here are good for Canyon and Rock wrens. We heard Canyon Wren but did not find any Rock Wrens. There was an adult Peregrine Falcon hunting and soaring around the south face of the cliff though. Mixed sparrow flocks here included several Chipping Sparrows. At the end of the day, we had tallied over 90 species!

Sep 10 – We left Kelowna and it was still quite dark at 6 AM, reaching our destination, Salmon Arm, before 8 AM. We began at the pier, where we enjoyed some very nice birding in the morning sunlight. There were many ducks, and quite a few distant Western Grebes here, a lifer for Anthony. Shorebirds included some Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, a Wilson’s Snipe, one each of American Golden-Plover and Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Pectoral Sandpipers and 5 juvenile Long-billed Dowitchers right below the pier. A Merlin attempted to catch a Spotted Sandpiper several times by driving it under water. Lucky for the sandpiper, the Merlin was not terribly persistent. A pair of Peregrine Falcons also hunted out over the mudflats. There were Ospreys, Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawk present as well. In with the usual Ring-billed and Herring gulls were a couple of Bonaparte’s Gulls. Flying and calling along the foreshore were Barn Swallows, Horned Lark, American Pipits and a Lapland Longspur.

At Christmas Island, along Salmon Arm’s foreshore, we took a walk for a couple of hours or so, racking up a nice selection of species. Here, we had excellent views of many Western Grebes and we were able to pick out a single Clark’s Grebe amongst them. In with the usual waterfowl were a few interesting ones like Redhead, Greater Scaup, Wood Duck, Cinnamon Teal and Hooded Merganser. We counted 105 American White Pelicans here in Salmon Arm today, with the majority of them resting on the rocks at Christmas Island. Great Blue Herons were plentiful today along the muddy shore, and we also had a Northern Harrier to add to the raptor list. A few migrant passerines were about, but not too many. They included White-crowned, Lincoln’s, and Savannah sparrows, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Gray Catbird, and Cedar Waxwing.

We left Salmon Arm, returning to the Kelowna area, where we spent an hour or so exploring Robert Lake. A few ducks were added to our growing trip list, including Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, as well as a number of Eared Grebes. Shorebirds included a Pectoral Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs and 9 Red-necked Phalaropes. Migrants in the grassy margins around the lake included Horned Lark, American Pipit, Savannah Sparrow and a Marsh Wren. There were mixed groups of Red-winged, Brewer’s and Yellow-headed blackbirds about as well.

Our final stop of the tour was at Munson Pond, where I hoped we’d find a few last targets for Anthony, such as MacGillivray’s Warbler and Vaux’s Swift. It was fairly quiet for migrants here, and we didn’t find the target species, but we still had some birds like Lincoln’s Sparrows, Orange-crowned Warbler, Violet-green Swallows and a very photogenic Belted Kingfisher. After all was said and done, we’d found almost 140 species during our three days of birding in the Southern Interior of B.C. Anthony carried on down to the coast for some more birding with Melissa Hafting, and more lifers, no doubt.

Bird List: Canada Goose; Tundra Swan; Wood Duck; Blue-winged Teal; Cinnamon Teal; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; American Wigeon; Mallard; Northern Pintail; Green-winged Teal; Redhead; Ring-necked Duck; Greater Scaup; Bufflehead; Common Goldeneye; Hooded Merganser; Common Merganser; Ruddy Duck; California Quail; Ring-necked Pheasant; Dusky Grouse; Pied-billed Grebe; Horned Grebe; Red-necked Grebe; Eared Grebe; Western Grebe; Clark’s Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; American Coot; Black-bellied Plover; American Golden-Plover; Killdeer; Sanderling; Baird’s Sandpiper; Pectoral Sandpiper; Western Sandpiper; Long-billed Dowitcher; Wilson’s Snipe; Spotted Sandpiper; Lesser Yellowlegs; Greater Yellowlegs; Red-necked Phalarope; Bonaparte’s Gull; Short-billed Gull; Ring-billed Gull; California Gull; Herring Gull; Glaucous-winged Gull; Common Loon; American White Pelican; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Sharp-shinned Hawk; Cooper’s Hawk; Bald Eagle; Red-tailed Hawk; Western Screech-Owl; Great Horned Owl; Northern Pygmy-Owl; Burrowing Owl; Belted Kingfisher; Red-naped Sapsucker; Black-backed Woodpecker; Downy Woodpecker; Hairy Woodpecker; Northern Flicker; Pileated Woodpecker; American Kestrel; Merlin; Peregrine Falcon; Western Wood-Pewee; Hammond’s Flycatcher; Gray Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Cassin’s Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Canada Jay; Steller’s Jay; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Horned Lark; Violet-green Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; White-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Brown Creeper; Canyon Wren; Pacific Wren; Marsh Wren; Bewick’s Wren; American Dipper; Golden-crowned Kinglet; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Western Bluebird; Mountain Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; Swainson’s Thrush; American Robin; Gray Catbird; Sage Thrasher; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; American Pipit; Evening Grosbeak; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch; Lapland Longspur; Spotted Towhee; Chipping Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Lincoln’s Sparrow; White-crowned Sparrow; Dark-eyed Junco; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Western Meadowlark; Red-winged Blackbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Orange-crowned Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Western Tanager.

PHOTOS: All by Chris Charlesworth (C) 2021. From top to bottom of report: Great Horned Owl; Cinnamon Teal; Steller’s Jay; Dusky Grouse; Western Screech-Owl; Short-billed Gull; American Dipper; Savannah Sparrow; Pygmy Nuthatch; Osprey: Pectoral Sandpiper.

South Okanagan Day Tour – August 3, 2021

I met up with my client, a friend from Quesnel, in Naramata early this morning. We made our way to White Lake, where amongst the sagebrush, we had some very nice birds this morning. Sparrows were rather numerous, and most were Vesper Sparrows, though we did have a few Lark Sparrows and a couple of very nice Brewer’s Sparrows. One of the Brewer’s was an adult in rather molty plumage, and the other was a fresh juvenile, the latter of which was feeding along the edge of the road and provided fantastic views. We flushed 13 Gray Partridge here today, with a covey of 12 flushed first, and a single bird subsequently flushed. Through the scope we watched at least 3 Sage Thrashers in the distance, and we speculated there were perhaps 4-5 birds, a family group.

A stroll through the Ponderosa Pines near Mahoney Lake provided us with good views of all three species of nuthatches, as well as Western Wood-Pewee, Cassin’s Finch, Red Crossbill, Spotted Towhee and more. On Mahoney Lake were Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots and some unidentifiable distant diving ducks.

We made a quick visit to a patch of willows near Vaseux Lake NW Marsh, hoping to find a Bewick’s Wren. We did find one, and it called several times, but remained hidden in the brush. Other birds here included Cassin’s Vireo, Black-headed Grosbeak and Western Tanager.

At the cliffs at Vaseux Lake we heard, but couldn’t see Rock Wren and Canyon Wren. A Peregrine Falcon soared overhead, and we counted close to 40 Bighorn Sheep relaxing in the shade of a pine tree. After a little searching, we found a couple of Lewis’s Woodpeckers. Many of the birds were sitting as still as stones, and one bird, perhaps a Cedar Waxwing, was emitting high-pitched alarm calls that often signal a raptor is in the area. Sure enough, a Merlin leapt out of the trees and soared overhead for a few moments before disappearing. We scanned the north end of Vaseux Lake from the cliffs and we saw a Trumpeter Swan, a continuing bird that has been summering in the area.

After we had lunch in Oliver, we carried on down to Road 22. It was quite hot by this point, as the temperatures today hit 37 degrees Celsius. Birds were being quiet, but still we managed some interesting finds. Eastern Kingbirds were numerous, and we heard but could not see at least a couple of Yellow-breasted Chats. Gray Catbirds called from the vegetation and a Downy Woodpecker flew past. Raptors included several Ospreys and a Northern Harrier. We scanned through fields of thistle, finding a number of American Goldfinches. Swallows were well represented, as we had Barn, Bank, Cliff and Northern Rough-winged. A pair of Hooded Mergansers paddled off in one of the oxbows visible from the dykes.

We then headed to Kruger Mountain Road, up Hwy 3, west of Osoyoos. We hoped to find some Lesser Goldfinch here, and we were successful. As I slowly drove along I heard the high pitched calls of one so we stopped the car. After a short burst of pishing, four Lesser Goldfinches, a couple of males, a female, and perhaps a fledged bird, appeared on the wires. They flew off a short distance and we followed them, viewing them again down right beside a fence, where they were eating seeds. Other birds present included Cassin’s Finch, Black-headed Grosbeak, Say’s Phoebe, Steller’s Jay, California Quail and a female type Black-chinned Hummingbird. A fledgling Townsend’s Solitaire was interesting to watch as it spread its wings and appeared to be sunning itself on a fence post. A pond here added a few ducks to the day list, including American Wigeon and Northern Shoveler.

On our way back north, we popped into Inkaneep Provincial Park. The trail I wanted to explore was closed, but we still managed a few goodies including another calling Yellow-breasted Chat, a Downy Woodpecker, Gray Catbirds and plenty of Cedar Waxwings.

At some cliffs on Allendale Road, we heard and briefly saw at least a couple of Canyon Wrens. Our only White-throated Swift of the day zipped past here as well. All in all, for a hot, somewhat smoky day in August, we did very well.

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Trumpeter Swan; Wood Duck; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; American Wigeon; Mallard; Green-winged Teal; Bufflehead; Hooded Merganser; California Quail; Gray Partridge; Pied-billed Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; White-throated Swift; Black-chinned Hummingbird; American Coot; Killdeer; Greater Yellowlegs; Ring-billed Gull; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Cooper’s Hawk; Red-tailed Hawk; Belted Kingfisher; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Downy Woodpecker; Hairy Woodpecker; Northern Flicker; American Kestrel; Merlin; Peregrine Falcon; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Western Wood-Pewee; Willow Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Cassin’s Vireo; Red-eyed Vireo; Steller’s Jay; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Bank Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; White-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Rock Wren; Canyon Wren; Bewick’s Wren; Western Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; American Robin; Gray Catbird; Sage Thrasher; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; Lesser Goldfinch; American Goldfinch; Spotted Towhee; Chipping Sparrow; Brewer’s Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Yellow-breasted Chat; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brown-headed Cowbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Western Tanager; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting.

B.C. ~ Southern Interior Birding – June 25 – 28, 2021

June 25 – I met up with my three clients, and friends, at their hotel in Kelowna this morning. It was sunny and hot, and during our upcoming four day birding adventure, we would endure the hottest temperatures on record in Canadian history. We spent the first part of our morning looking for Western Screech-Owls at a couple of their roosting sites, and after a little searching, we found both birds. Both of them were snuggled up to the trunk of their trees, snoozing away the afternoon. In the process of looking for the owls, we encountered some other nice birds like Downy Woodpecker, a singing Yellow-breasted Chat and a couple of Bullock’s Orioles, as well as a female Calliope Hummingbird and a Pileated Woodpecker.

We then headed into the mountains east of Kelowna to look for Northern Pygmy-Owls. We found two of them, presumably a pair, in an area of forest where I have been seeing them regularly this year. In addition to the owls, there were other birds including Townsend’s Warbler, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Near Big White Ski Resort, we explored a nice patch of boreal forest. The big highlight was encountering a pair of Boreal Chickadees, but a close runner up was a lovely male Pine Grosbeak. We heard, but could not see, an American Three-toed Woodpecker. An Olive-sided Flycatcher belted out his ‘Quick three beers’ song from the top of a snag. A number of Steller’s Jays were calling as they moved through the forest, and Hermit Thrushes were singing their ethereal songs from the thick vegetation. In a regenerating clearcut, a White-crowned Sparrow sang.

From Kelowna, we made our way towards Merritt on the Connector. Once in Merritt, we followed Hwy 5A to Kamloops, stopping in at a number of spots along the way. Near Quilchena, we stopped to view an adult Swainson’s Hawk on a telephone pole. The hawk flew down into a hay field, and then returned to a closer telephone pole, for excellent scope views. At Guichon Flats we scanned the marshes and wetlands, finding a variety of birds such as Eared Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Redhead, Blue-winged and Cinnamon teal, Northern Pintail, Wilson’s Phalarope and Yellow-headed Blackbirds to name a few. At Planet Mine Road, we watched a pair of Lewis’s Woodpeckers, who appeared to be taking it easy in the sweltering heat. Also along here we had Clark’s Nutcracker, Western Kingbirds, Western Meadowlark and American Kestrel. Driving past lakes as we headed north, we spotted several Red-necked Grebes and an adult Herring Gull at Stump Lake, and a gorgeous Black Tern at Napier Lake.

After checking in at our hotel, we headed back out into the field, this time hoping for some owls. As it was still daylight, we continued to bird until dusk. We found Red-naped Sapsuckers tending to a nest, as well as a nesting House Wren. Clark’s Nutcrackers were flying overhead, and a Common Nighthawk called. Then, our patience paid off, as I spotted a Great Gray Owl sitting nearby in a fir tree, looking this way and that, as he began his evening of hunting.

June 26 – It was to be another sunny and hot day, as we began at Rose Hill near Kamloops. We had excellent views of Horned Larks as they sang from the hilltop and from fence posts. A Clay-colored Sparrow caught our attention, so we were looking for that, when suddenly a Brewer’s Sparrow appeared on the scene and began singing. The Clay-colored and Brewer’s were side by side, showing an excellent comparison of their distinguishing features. The Clay-colored had a much more noticeable face pattern than did the comparatively drab Brewer’s.

From Kamloops we followed the Trans Canada Highway east to Salmon Arm. Here, we began at the pier, where we were somewhat surprised by the lack of birds. The usual numbers of nesting Western Grebes appear to be down, and we didn’t see a Clark’s Grebe today. Ospreys that usually nest here in numbers, appear to be at only one or two nests this year. One highlight was seeing an American White Pelican resting in the bay to the west of the pier, and a bunch of Common Mergansers were resting on a log. We headed for the trail to Christmas Island, where we found the usual songbirds, including Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird, Lazuli Bunting, Willow Flycatcher, Song Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat. At Christmas Island, there was a brood of nearly grown Hooded Mergansers, as well as a Wood Duck and several American Wigeon. Soras called from the marsh, and we viewed a Bald Eagle’s nest in a towering cottonwood tree. There were at least 2 large, brown eaglets. We heard, but couldn’t see a Yellow-breasted Chat, as it sang from a brushy hillside. With close to 50 species tallied at Salmon Arm, it was a good stop. We had lunch on a patio before making our way down to Kelowna.

This evening we again headed out, once the temperatures had cooled ever so slightly. The sun sank below the hillside as we visited Robert Lake. Here, we had a dozen Black-necked Stilts! There were two broods of four young stilts, and two pairs of adults. Also here, we had nice views of Wilson’s Phalaropes, and we got the usual Eared Grebes, teal and Ruddy Ducks. A Mule Deer strolled past us, while we scanned the lake.

This evening we hoped to see a Flammulated Owl, and we did. In fact, we saw two of them together. We heard, but didn’t see Common Poorwills, and there were Common Nighthawks continually buzzing and booming overhead. A Western Screech-Owl let out a few barking calls, but remained hidden as well. Before it was dark, though, we were able to get a number of species, such as Black-headed Grosbeak, Townsend’s Solitaire, Veery and Western Tanager.

June 27 – Leaving Kelowna, we made our first stop of the day, on what was to be the hottest day in Canadian history, at Hardy Falls near Peachland. It was a pleasant stroll up the shady canyon this morning, and we were rewarded at the waterfall, with great views of an American Dipper. Other birds encountered along the walk included Veery, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, a nesting Western Wood-Pewee, Nashville Warbler, American Goldfinch and Spotted Towhee.

At White Lake, it was already nearing 30 degrees Celsius and the birds were not terribly active. The regular species, Mountain Bluebirds, Western and Eastern kingbirds and Western Meadowlarks, were all in attendance, but we couldn’t find any Sage Thrashers unfortunately. We scoped a distant Burrowing Owl, part of a re-introduction program, which was nice to see. Finally, after hearing loads of them, we saw a Vesper Sparrow on a fence post this morning.

In the Ponderosa Pines near Mahoney Lake, we took a stroll, and we encountered both Pygmy and White-breasted nuthatches. The White-breasted was clinging to the trunk of a pine right in front of us! A Gray Flycatcher, the only of our trip, and perhaps the rarest empidonax flycatcher in Canada, popped up and put on a nice show for us. My pygmy owl call brought out a whole bunch of birds such as Western Tanager, Cassin’s Finches, Red Crossbill and Mountain Chickadee.

As the day was really heating up now, and the temperature was close to 40 degrees, we popped into Tickleberry’s for a little ice cream. We then made our way up into the forests east of Okanagan Falls, where we hoped to find some new birds. We watched a pair of Williamson’s Sapsuckers tend to their vociferous nestlings in a cavity high up in a larch. We also had a nest of Red-naped Sapsuckers, with similarly noisy nestlings. A Mountain Chickadee fed a tiny fledgling on its perch near the ground, and Hermit Thrushes were singing once again. A Cassin’s Vireo flitted in the conifers but eventually came out to give us a view. We tried to see a MacGillivray’s Warbler, and in fact there were about 4 of them at one location, but none would sit still, out in the open, for long enough, for a decent view. We heard a singing Orange-crowned Warbler however. At Venner Meadows a few new birds were added to our trip list such as Lincoln’s Sparrow, Dusky Flycatcher and a rather uncooperative Northern Waterthrush. It was a ‘pleasant’ 32 degrees up at the higher elevations we explored this afternoon, but once we returned to the valley bottom, we were hit with temperatures nearing 42 degrees Celsius. We had to take a ‘siesta’ for a while at our hotel.

After dinner, we headed for Road 22, north of Osoyoos, where we had an enjoyable couple of hours of birding. There were Bobolinks singing in the hay fields, and swallows of all sorts were foraging over the fields and over the river as well. Yellow-breasted Chats were singing from all around us, and we saw a couple of them through the scope. Monica pointed out a Vaux’s Swift overhead, our only encounter with this species on the tour. I spotted a Northern Harrier on a fence post, our first bird of this variety as well, and a Cooper’s Hawk also made its debut onto our list. House Wrens sang from the riparian woods. Marsh Wrens chattered from the marsh, and a Bewick’s Wren sang briefly as well. Gray Catbirds, Bullock’s Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak and Yellow Warbler all joined in to the ‘dusk chorus’. As it got darker, Common Nighthawks began to grow in numbers. At one point, over a dozen were coming down to drink water and catch insects low over the oxbows. It was quite a magical sight. A quick look at the north end of Osoyoos Lake produced some Red-necked Grebes and a very nice view. We made our way back to Oliver via Black Sage Road. I heard the begging call of fledgling Great Horned Owls as I was driving along, so we stopped, and sure enough, there were two fledged owlets calling before flying off into the night.

June 28 – After a quick stop to grab coffee and provisions, we were on our way to the cliffs at ‘The Throne’, a prominent rocky mountain near the north end of Osoyoos Lake, that, if you use your imagination, looks like a throne. We walked through the antelope-brush towards the cliffs, and the songs of Canyon and Rock wrens grew louder as we approached. The chattering of White-throated Swifts soon began to fill the air, but the screams of a pair of Peregrine Falcons soon penetrated the air as well, distracting us from everything else. We eventually had good looks at both the Canyon and Rock wrens as they sang and hopped about on prominent rocky perches. On our way back towards the car, we had great views of a male Western Bluebird, as well as our only Lark Sparrow of the tour.

Back down at Road 22, we explored the southeast dyke, where we had good views of our only Least Flycatcher for the tour. A male Black-chinned Hummingbird was viewed through the scope, on his perch upon a telephone wire. At the north end of Osoyoos Lake there were several Ring-billed Gulls, a California Gull and a large, fairly dark-backed gull that was just too far away for proper identification, unfortunately. A Common Loon was diving towards the northwest corner of the lake, and we had a Pied-billed Grebe in the marsh nearby.

In the Richter Pass, we explored Kruger Mountain Road, hoping for Lesser Goldfinches. This species has only recently been ‘discovered’ to be breeding in Canada, in the hills around Osoyoos. On our first pass through the suitable habitat, we didn’t get any Lesser Goldfinches. On our way back to our cars, I could hear them calling. After a few minutes, a male was sitting on the telephone wire in front of us, while a second bird continued to call in the trees nearby. In general, the birds were very active here this morning, and we even had a nice Northern Pygmy-Owl give us a show. The owl was being mobbed by an entourage of birds, including Black-chinned and Rufous hummingbirds, Red-naped Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-breasted and White-breasted nuthatches, Western Bluebirds, Cassin’s Finches, Nashville Warbler and more! Our last two stops of the day were rather quiet. We looked for Chukar, but could find none, at Elkink Ranch. A Lewis’s Woodpecker flew past, however. At the Nighthawk Border Crossing it was hot and very quiet, so we decided it was time to call it quits. We had seen 162 species during our four days of birding.

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Wood Duck; Blue-winged Teal; Cinnamon Teal; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; American Wigeon; Mallard; Northern Pintail; Green-winged Teal; Redhead; Ring-necked Duck; Lesser Scaup; Bufflehead; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Hooded Merganser; Common Merganser; Ruddy Duck; California Quail; Ring-necked Pheasant; Pied-billed Grebe; Red-necked Grebe; Eared Grebe; Western Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; Common Nighthawk; Common Poorwill; Vaux’s Swift; White-throated Swift; Black-chinned Hummingbird; Rufous Hummingbird; Calliope Hummingbird; Virginia Rail; Sora; American Coot; Black-necked Stilt; American Avocet; Killdeer; Spotted Sandpiper; Wilson’s Phalarope; Ring-billed Gull; California Gull; Herring Gull; Common Loon; American White Pelican; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Cooper’s Hawk; Bald Eagle; Swainson’s Hawk; Red-tailed Hawk; Flammulated Owl; Western Screech-Owl; Great Horned Owl; Northern Pygmy-Owl; Burrowing Owl; Great Gray Owl; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Williamson’s Sapsucker; Red-naped Sapsucker; Downy Woodpecker; Hairy Woodpecker; Northern Flicker; Pileated Woodpecker; American Kestrel; Peregrine Falcon; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Olive-sided Flycatcher; Western Wood-Pewee; Willow Flycatcher; Least Flycatcher; Hammond’s Flycatcher; Gray Flycatcher; Dusky Flycatcher; Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Cassin’s Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Red-eyed Vireo; Steller’s Jay; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Horned Lark; Tree Swallow; Violet-green Swallow; Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Bank Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Boreal Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; White-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Brown Creeper; Rock Wren; Canyon Wren; House Wren; Pacific Wren; Marsh Wren; Bewick’s Wren; American Dipper; Golden-crowned Kinglet; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Western Bluebird; Mountain Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; Veery; Swainson’s Thrush; Hermit Thrush; American Robin; Gray Catbird; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; Pine Grosbeak; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; Lesser Goldfinch; American Goldfinch; Spotted Towhee; Chipping Sparrow; Clay-colored Sparrow; Brewer’s Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Lincoln’s Sparrow; White-crowned Sparrow; Dark-eyed Junco; Yellow-breasted Chat; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Bobolink; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brown-headed Cowbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Northern Waterthrush; Orange-crowned Warbler; Nashville Warbler; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Townsend’s Warbler; Wilson’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting.

Photos: All by Chris Charlesworth (C). In the order they appear on the blog: Western Screech-Owl; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Great Gray Owl; Black-necked Stilt; American Dipper; Rock Wren; Western Bluebird; Mule Deer. All June 2021.

A Morning in the South Okanagan – June 24, 2021

I went out with a friend from Kelowna this morning, for a morning of bird photography in the south Okanagan, in British Columbia. We left Kelowna at 6 AM and made our way to White Lake, near Okanagan Falls. We were hoping to find a Sage Thrasher, but we couldn’t find one today. The temperature was hot and there was a good breeze, which may have hampered our efforts. We still saw some nice things, however, including some dazzling Mountain Bluebirds, a stunning male Lazuli Bunting, a singing Gray Catbird, both Western and Eastern kingbirds, Vesper Sparrows and plenty of Western Meadowlarks. Through the scope we saw two re-introduced Burrowing Owls, another highlight of the morning.

We then headed south down to Road 22, at the north end of Osoyoos Lake. Here, we saw at least 3 male Bobolinks frolicking in the hayfields. Heard, but not seen, was a Yellow-breasted Chat. A female Northern Harrier sailed by, and several Ospreys were noted as well.

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Mallard; Barrow’s Goldeneye; California Quail; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; Black-chinned Hummingbird; Killdeer; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Burrowing Owl; Northern Flicker; American Kestrel; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Western Wood-Pewee; Say’s Phoebe; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Tree Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; House Wren; Mountain Bluebird; American Robin; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; American Goldfinch; Brewer’s Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Yellow-breasted Chat; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Bobolink; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Yellow Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Lazuli Bunting.

Photos: All by Stew Turcotte (C) in the order they appear on blog: Lazuli Bunting; Gray Catbird; Bobolink. June 2021.

June 10 to 12, Okanagan Birding.

June 10 – This evening I met up with my client just before dusk. We were to spend the next couple of days together, exploring the Okanagan Valley, and photographing the stunning birds of the region. We spent a couple of hours looking for owls and other nocturnal things this evening. We were treated to fantastic views of Flammulated Owls, one of the smallest, and most cryptically colored owls, in North America. Also, we had mind blowing views of Common Poorwills this evening. We heard Common Nighthawks.

June 11 – We made our way south to Okanagan Falls this morning, and we ventured into the coniferous forests in the mountains, to look for some specialized woodpecker species. It was an overcast, cool and periodically drizzly morning as we bumped up the dirt road. Once we had arrived at our destination we watched a nest of Williamson’s Sapsuckers high in a larch. The male and female were seemingly feeding young, making repeated trips to and from the nest. We followed them both, attempting to photograph them as they fed, but this proved a little difficult. The female posed nicely for a brief moment, long enough for photos, but the male was quite elusive. While we were searching for the sapsucker I could hear the begging notes of baby woodpeckers. We tracked down the nest cavity and were very surprised and excited when a Black-backed Woodpecker came in to feed the young. We hung around for half an hour or so, photographing both the male and female as they fed their young. In a nearby wooded gully, we found Red-naped Sapsucker, as our streak of woodpecker luck continued. Also here was a calling Barred Owl, though it remained out of sight. Pacific Wren, Townsend’s Warbler and a fledgling Varied Thrush were all nice additions to our trip list. On our way back down the road, we paused to look at and photograph a male California Quail that was sitting on a roadside fence post.

After a quick stop for coffee and provisions, we were back on the road again, this time, exploring McKinney Road, east of Oliver. We had a few target species to look for here, including Gray Flycatcher, Black-chinned Hummingbird and Lark Sparrow. We found all three fairly quickly, and got photos of them as well. A bonus was a singing Yellow-breasted Chat that also popped up for photographs. Within the first 10 km of McKinney Road I saw / heard three Yellow-breasted Chats, which was a bit of a surprise, since this is not a species I normally find on that road. To add to our bulging woodpecker list, we got Downy and Hairy woodpecker along this road too.

Our final (daytime) stop today was at Road 22, north of Osoyoos. We tallied over 50 species here, including several target species. Best of all, perhaps, were male Bobolinks that sat on nearby fence posts for photo ops. A group of 5 Common Nighthawks sailed overhead, always a treat to see in broad daylight. Raptors were plentiful, with several Osprey, a Cooper’s Hawk, a pair of Northern Harriers, a Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk present. We enjoyed good views of a Least Flycatcher along the southeast dyke, and Willow Flycatchers were calling at several spots. All of the local swallow species were well represented, and we spent a few minutes watching and photographing some Cliff Swallows tending to their mud nests under a bridge. Bullock’s Orioles were singing and calling at various spots at Road 22, but they largely remained out of sight, and would not permit photography.

We returned to the Central Okanagan in the late afternoon, driving through a nasty traffic jam on the way. After dinner we reconvened and went out to see some nocturnal birds. High in the boreal forest at dusk we heard the deep hoots of a Great Gray Owl, and after a bit of a search we were looking at the bird as it sat in a spruce and called before heading out for an evening of hunting. On our way back to town, a Barred Owl flew across the road as well.

June 12 – After a rather late night, it was another early morning. We met up at 5:30 AM and headed to some streamside riparian habitat, in hopes of finding a Western Screech-Owl. After about 10 minutes of searching around, I found the owl, snoozing in a cottonwood. Also a surprise, I heard another Yellow-breasted Chat here, a species that is not too common in the Central Okanagan Valley. This was a nice start to our day!

Driving south through Penticton, I spotted a Belted Kingfisher sitting on a wire overlooking the Okanagan River. We returned to check on our Williamson’s Sapsucker and Black-backed Woodpecker nests this morning. We met a young fellow there who mentioned he had seen several Williamson’s Sapsuckers on a nearby road so we went to investigate. Sure enough, there was a male making several forays to gather food, after which time he would fly off to the west, presumably to feed young in a nest. An adult Northern Goshawk was flushed off the side of a dirt track as we approached, and unfortunately, we could not relocate it. Several Red Crossbills were a treat to watch as they fed on the ground near the edge of the gravel road as well.

Along White Lake Road, near Kaleden, we stopped to watch a Lewis’s Woodpecker at ‘his’ tree, a large Ponderosa Pine snag. As we watched, a female Dusky Grouse began to cross the road, calling for her tiny chicks to follow. There was traffic coming, and it was coming fast, so we stopped the vehicles for a moment to let mamma grouse and her little ones get off the road. Up to 3 male Calliope Hummingbirds, another species my client was keen on photographing, were sat atop bushes along the road, and we paused to try and photograph one of them. At White Lake itself, we walked through the sagebrush, hoping for a Sage Thrasher. We did see one, though it was rather distant and the wires of a fence. As we walked towards it, the bird disappeared and we didn’t relocate it. A few ducks were on White Lake, including Ruddy Duck, Green-winged and Cinnamon teal, Northern Shoveler, and Gadwall. Several Wilson’s Phalaropes were present as well, and they posed for some photos. Along nearby Twin Lakes Road we were treated to great views of a Clay-colored Sparrow, as well as two subadult Golden Eagles sailing overhead. Mountain Bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks, Lazuli Buntings, and Western Kingbirds were also in attendance.

Some cliffs of Allendale Road near Okanagan Falls produced a Canyon Wren nest, where we watched both adults make several trips in to feed the begging young. Overhead, White-throated Swifts screeched, and a pair of Mountain Bluebirds fed on Saskatoon berries. Say’s Phoebe and Western Kingbird were also foraging here, from their perches on sprinkler heads. At the Vaseux Lake cliffs we heard a Rock Wren singing high up on the cliffs, but it wouldn’t come down low enough to be viewed. There were more White-throated Swifts buzzing overhead. A walk along the boardwalk at Vaseux Lake was quite nice, though the afternoon temperatures were quite hot. There were more Bullock’s Orioles here, as well as Gray Catbirds, Veery, Black-headed Grosbeak, Common Yellowthroat and a skulking Virginia Rail. Along Old Kaleden Road, where we enjoyed watching a foraging Lewis’s Woodpecker, and we chased around some more Bullock’s Orioles, we also enjoyed the rather stunning view of Skaha Lake.

To finish off our tour, we paused along the side of Hwy 97 near Summerland to see and photograph some Mountain Goats that were feeding and traversing the rocky terrain. We had seen, or heard, over 130 species of birds during our time together. All in all, it was a very successful tour.

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Cinnamon Teal; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; Mallard; Green-winged Teal; Hooded Merganser; Ruddy Duck; California Quail; Ring-necked Pheasant; Dusky Grouse; Pied-billed Grebe; Red-necked Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; Common Nighthawk; Common Poorwill; White-throated Swift; Black-chinned Hummingbird; Rufous Hummingbird; Calliope Hummingbird; Virginia Rail; American Coot; Killdeer; Wilson’s Snipe; Spotted Sandpiper; Wilson’s Phalarope; Ring-billed Gull; Common Loon; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Golden Eagle; Northern Harrier; Cooper’s Hawk; Northern Goshawk; Bald Eagle; Red-tailed Hawk; Flammulated Owl; Western Screech-Owl; Barred Owl; Great Gray Owl; Belted Kingfisher; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Williamson’s Sapsucker; Red-naped Sapsucker; Black-backed Woodpecker; Downy Woodpecker; Hairy Woodpecker; Northern Flicker; Pileated Woodpecker; American Kestrel; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Willow Flycatcher; Least Flycatcher; Hammond’s Flycatcher; Dusky Flycatcher; Gray Flycatcher; Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Cassin’s Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Canada Jay; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Tree Swallow; Violet-green Swallow; Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Bank Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Brown Creeper; Rock Wren; Canyon Wren; House Wren; Pacific Wren; Marsh Wren; Bewick’s Wren; Golden-crowned Kinglet; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Western Bluebird; Mountain Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; Veery; Swainson’s Thrush; Hermit Thrush; American Robin; Sage Thrasher; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; Evening Grosbeak; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch; Spotted Towhee; Chipping Sparrow; Clay-colored Sparrow; Brewer’s Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Dark-eyed Junco; Yellow-breasted Chat; Bobolink; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brown-headed Cowbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Orange-crowned Warbler; Nashville Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Townsend’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting.

Photos: All by Chris Charlesworth, in the order they appear (C) 2021. Common Poorwill, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Flycatcher, Western Screech-Owl, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Calliope Hummingbird, Canyon Wren, Mountain Goats, Flammulated Owl.

Birding the Okanagan – May 28-29, 2021

May 28 – I met up with my client this morning at 8 AM and we explored an area of riparian habitat, hoping to find a Western Screech-Owl. Our efforts were rewarded with excellent views of a roosting bird, the first owl of our tour. Next, we headed up Hwy 33, east of Kelowna to search for a few tough to find forest birds. We searched a burned area, hoping to see a Black-backed Woodpecker. We did not see one, though we did hear one call several times. Another of our targets, Northern Pygmy-Owl did show itself, rather briefly, however. Other forest birds noted here included Canada Jay, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Cassin’s Vireo, and MacGillivray’s Warbler.

We then crossed the bridge and made our way over to Rose Valley for some late morning birding. It was very active with birds here, despite quite a strong wind. Some of the more noteworthy birds we encountered included Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds, Red-naped Sapsucker, Dusky Flycatcher, White-breasted and Pygmy nuthatches, Western Bluebird, Veery, Wilson’s Warbler, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak and Lazuli Bunting!

We took a ‘siesta’ for a few hours in the afternoon and we met once again after dinner. We spent half an hour or so checking out Robert Lake and Alki Lake. Highlights included nesting Black-necked Stilts, a number of Wilson’s Phalarope and at Alki Lake, a few American Avocets. The usual waterfowl were present including Ruddy Ducks, Blue-winged and Cinnamon teal, Redhead and Bufflehead, as well as close to 2 dozen Eared Grebes.

We headed up Beaver Lake Road, east of Lake Country, enjoying some early evening birding in the grasslands, where there were Western Meadowlarks, Lazuli Buntings, Vesper Sparrows and more. Once we entered the forest more birds were there, this time including a drumming Ruffed Grouse, singing Swainson’s, Hermit and Varied thrushes, Cassin’s Finch, Townsend’s Warbler and others. We tried some owling, once the sun went down, and we heard a calling Northern Saw-whet Owl.

May 29 – Along White Lake Road, near OK Falls, we began with a nice view of Lewis’s Woodpecker, as well as a Gray Flycatcher in the Ponderosa Pine trees. White Lake itself had a few ducks, including Blue-winged and Cinnamon teals, Northern Shoveler and Ruddy Duck. Along the shore were Wilson’s Phalarope, Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper. We had a single Sage Thrasher singing from the top of a sagebush in the distance. Along nearby Twin Lakes Road we had views of Clay-colored Sparrow and a Brewer’s Sparrow, as well as a male Black-chinned Hummingbird, both Western and Mountain bluebirds, Western Kingbird and Bullock’s Oriole. A Yellow-breasted Chat was heard, but not seen.

In the mountains east of Okanagan Falls we watched a Williamson’s Sapsucker pair tending to their nest in a tall larch tree. Venner Meadows was productive and we saw Dusky Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler, Northern Waterthrush and Lincoln’s Sparrow here. In a wooded gully we had a pair of Barred Owls as well as Pacific Wren and Townsend’s Warbler.

The lower reaches of McKinney Road yielded another male Black-chinned Hummingbird, though this one provided excellent views. Also new, a Lark Sparrow showed nicely in the sagebrush and pine trees.

Exploration of a section of riparian habitat along the Okanagan River near Oliver produced a Yellow-breasted Chat, as well as Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler and Lazuli Bunting.

The cliffs at Vaseux Lake yielded both Canyon Wren and Rock Wren, as well as over a dozen White-throated Swifts. A Cooper’s Hawk circled over the cliffs as well, our first for the tour.

After dark we explored an area of forest where we heard several, and saw one Flammulated Owl. Also, we heard up to four Common Poorwills here as well. Our two full days of birding had come to an end. We had tallied, between the two of us, over 130 species of birds!

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Blue-winged Teal; Cinnamon Teal; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; American Wigeon; Mallard; Green-winged Teal; Redhead; Lesser Scaup; Bufflehead; Ruddy Duck; California Quail; Ruffed Grouse; Pied-billed Grebe; Eared Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; Common Poorwill; White-throated Swift; Black-chinned Hummingbird; Rufous Hummingbird; Calliope Hummingbird; American Coot; Black-necked Stilt; American Avocet; Killdeer; Wilson’s Snipe; Spotted Sandpiper; Wilson’s Phalarope; Ring-billed Gull; California Gull; Common Loon; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Cooper’s Hawk; Bald Eagle; Red-tailed Hawk; Flammulated Owl; Western Screech-Owl; Northern Pygmy-Owl; Burrowing Owl; Northern Saw-whet Owl; Belted Kingfisher; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Williamson’s Sapsucker; Red-naped Sapsucker; Black-backed Woodpecker; Downy Woodpecker; Hairy Woodpecker; Northern Flicker; American Kestrel; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Western Wood-Pewee; Hammond’s Flycatcher; Gray Flycatcher; Dusky Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Cassin’s Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Canada Jay; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Tree Swallow; Violet-green Swallow; Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Bank Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; White-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Rock Wren; Canyon Wren; House Wren; Pacific Wren; Golden-crowned Kinglet; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Western Bluebird; Mountain Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; Veery; Swainson’s Thrush; Hermit Thrush; American Robin; Varied Thrush; Gray Catbird; Sage Thrasher; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; Evening Grosbeak; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch; Spotted Towhee; Chipping Sparrow; Clay-colored Sparrow; Brewer’s Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Lincoln’s Sparrow; Dark-eyed Junco; Yellow-breasted Chat; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brown-headed Cowbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Northern Waterthrush; Orange-crowned Warbler; Nashville Warbler; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Townsend’s Warbler; Wilson’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting.

Chris Charlesworth

Kelowna to Kamloops, BC – June 5, 2021

I met up with my four local friends and clients in West Kelowna early this morning. We drove up over the Connector towards Kamloops, stopping in at Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive Site, near Merritt. It was very birdy here, as usual. Highlights included Least, Dusky and Willow flycatchers, Western Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, MacGillivray’s, Yellow, and Orange-crowned warblers, House Wren, Marsh Wren, and Clay-colored Sparrow. There were a few ducks on the pond here as well, such as Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup and Ruddy Duck. An Osprey was sitting watching over pond, near a nest.

We carried on towards Kamloops, stopping in at Merritt to get some coffee. Around Lac Le Jeune we explored some higher elevation forest areas, where we found birds like Mountain Chickadee, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Swainson’s Thrush and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, to name just a few species. A cow and calf Moose out in a meadow made for a great sighting, and were our 3rd and 4th Moose of the day, as we’d seen two from the Connector on our drive.

The next couple of hours were spent exploring Goose Lake Road, where we tallied close to 80 species this morning! Lakes and ponds had a variety of waterfowl that included Blue-winged, Green-winged and Cinnamon teal, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Bufflehead and Barrow’s Goldeneye. At Goose Lake we were happy to watch a pair of Horned Grebes tending to their nest. We heard, but did not see, both Sora and Virginia Rails in wetland areas, as well as Wilson’s Snipe, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Common Yellowthroat. Flycatchers were also well represented, and we enjoyed views of Hammond’s and Pacific-slope flycatchers, and we heard at least two more Least Flycatchers. A Say’s Phoebe was another nice addition to the list. We spotted a Western Wood-Pewees nest here as well. Two Olive-sided Flycatchers showed nicely near Goose Lake, and were my first of the year. Raptors included Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, and Swainson’s and Red-tailed hawks. One of the better sightings for the area was of a male Black-headed Grosbeak. The bird was singing and was seen in flight across the road.

At Separation Lake, we were surprised to see a pair of adult Semipalmated Plovers. We wondered if they were early southbound migrants or late northbound migrants. Otherwise, we saw the usual species here, including loads of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, a few Eared Grebes, Northern Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, and at least 50 Bank Swallows!

Closer to Kamloops we searched for a locally rare Brewer’s Sparrow on a hillside in Aberdeen. There were plenty of sparrows here, including Chipping, Clay-colored, Vesper, Song and Lincoln’s. We heard the Brewer’s Sparrow quite well, though it just flitted through the sagebrush and didn’t offer up great views.

In the Rose Hill area we continued our explorations, and we did find a couple of interesting birds. The first was a Short-eared Owl sitting on a distant fence post. The second was at least 3 Horned Larks singing and chasing one another around at the top of a rocky hill. All in all, we had a really enjoyable day of birding together, and we tallied 102 species as a group!

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Blue-winged Teal; Cinnamon Teal; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; American Wigeon; Mallard; Green-winged Teal; Redhead; Ring-necked Duck; Lesser Scaup; Bufflehead; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Common Merganser; Ruddy Duck; Pied-billed Grebe; Horned Grebe; Eared Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Calliope Hummingbird; Virginia Rail; Sora; American Coot; Killdeer; Semipalmated Plover; Wilson’s Snipe; Spotted Sandpiper; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Sharp-shinned Hawk; Bald Eagle; Swainson’s Hawk; Red-tailed Hawk; Short-eared Owl; Red-naped Sapsucker; Northern Flicker; American Kestrel; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Olive-sided Flycatcher; Western Wood-Pewee; Willow Flycatcher; Hammond’s Flycatcher; Dusky Flycatcher; Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Cassin’s Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Tree Swallow; Violet-green Swallow; Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Bank Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; House Wren; Marsh Wren; Golden-crowned Kinglet; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Mountain Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; Swainson’s Thrush; Hermit Thrush; American Robin; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch; Chipping Sparrow; Clay-colored Sparrow; Brewer’s Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Lincoln’s Sparrow; White-crowned Sparrow; Dark-eyed Junco; Yellow-headed Blackbird; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brown-headed Cowbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Orange-crowned Warbler; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Townsend’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting.

Photos: All by Chris Charlesworth. In order they appear: Osprey, Moose, Blue-winged Teal, Swainson’s Hawk.

Photographing South Okanagan Birds – May 21 and 22, 2021

I spent parts of two days with a couple of clients, and our goal was to see and try and photograph a bunch of birds given to me as target species. We spent most of our time in the South Okanagan, with a little owling in the Kelowna area as well. Weather was fantastic with mostly sunny and warm conditions, and some afternoon winds.

May 21 – We began at White Lake, where the smell of sagebrush filled the air, as did the songs of Western Meadowlarks! After a little hunting we were watching and listening to one of our target species, the rare and local Sage Thrasher. The bird we were watching sang from the tops of bushes and did several flight displays, but would sit in the right spot for the photo we wanted. I could hear another distant thrasher so we made our way towards that one. We crept up over a little hill and there he was singing away, at the top of a bush, in the morning sunlight. Photographs were taken. As we stalked through the sagebrush we flushed a single Gray Partridge from the grass. This introduced chicken, is an uncommon resident in grassland and sagebrush ecosystems in the South Okanagan. Some other highlights at White Lake included American Kestrel, both Mountain and Western bluebirds, both Eastern and Western kingbirds and a Northern Harrier.

A short stop in the mixed pine / fir forest near Willowbrook produced a nice list of birds, though none of them wanted to be photographed particularly. Birds here included Cassin’s Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Northern Waterthrush, Calliope Hummingbird, Western Wood-Pewee and Western Tanager. Clark’s Nutcrackers were active on a hillside nearby, and their loud, grating calls were continually in the background.

At Road 22, near Osoyoos, there were plenty of birds about, however our two big highlights here were a male Bobolink and a lovely Yellow-breasted Chat. The Bobolink sat on fenceposts at the edge of its hayfield, singing loudly. The chat was in the riparian forest along the oxbows and it sang from the understory, then did a flight display song and landed atop a birch, where it continued to sing for several minutes. Both the chat and the Bobolink were well photographed. Other birds that were either seen or heard included Bewick’s Wren, Cliff Swallow, Common Yellowthroat and Black-headed Grosbeak.

We then headed up into the Richter Pass, stopping in at the Nighthawk Border Crossing, where we hoped to pick up a couple of other sagebrush species. We were happy to bump into a couple of very attractive Lewis’s Woodpeckers that were foraging at the edge of an orchard here. The photographs of these pink and green woodpeckers turned out to be quite good. Further down towards the US border, we found both Brewer’s and Lark sparrows, our two target species here. Having had a very good morning of birding we decided to take an afternoon break.

In the evening we met in an area in the Central Okanagan for a little nocturnal outing. It was very successful. We saw, and the client managed to photograph, Western Screech-Owl, Flammulated Owl and Great Horned Owl. Common Poorwills were calling incessantly, and we saw one in the distance in the beam of the flashlight.

May 22 – We explored the mountains east of Okanagan Falls this morning, where we enjoyed watching and taking pictures of a Rock Wren singing in the morning sunlight. Another bird on our photo target list was a Nashville Warbler. There were several singing from the open woodlands as we made our way up the road, so we stopped to look for one. Eventually, this frenetic little bird finally sat still long enough for us to snap the ‘money-shot’. In the larch forests we were treated to excellent views of male and female Williamson’s Sapsucker as they made forays between their nest cavity and a popular feeding tree. Another big highlight was the observation of a pair of Barred Owls. We chased a Cassin’s Vireo around for a while, and eventually we got a pretty good photo of that species as well. The afternoon winds had kicked up by about lunchtime and we decided to call it a day. All in all, a very productive and enjoyable outing.

Bird Species: Canada Goose; Blue-winged Teal; Cinnamon Teal; Gadwall; Mallard; Green-winged Teal; Ruddy Duck; California Quail; Gray Partridge; Ring-necked Pheasant; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; Common Poorwill; White-throated Swift; Rufous Hummingbird; Calliope Hummingbird; Virginia Rail; Sora; American Coot; Killdeer; Spotted Sandpiper; Wilson’s Snipe; Wilson’s Phalarope; Ring-billed Gull; Common Loon; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Sharp-shinned Hawk; Bald Eagle; Red-tailed Hawk; Flammulated Owl; Western Screech-Owl; Great Horned Owl; Barred Owl; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Williamson’s Sapsucker; Red-naped Sapsucker; Northern Flicker; Pileated Woodpecker; American Kestrel; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Western Wood-Pewee; Hammond’s Flycatcher; Dusky Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Cassin’s Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Canada Jay; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Tree Swallow; Violet-green Swallow; Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Bank Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Brown Creeper; Rock Wren; Canyon Wren; House Wren; Bewick’s Wren; Golden-crowned Kinglet; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Western Bluebird; Mountain Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; Veery; Hermit Thrush; American Robin; Gray Catbird; Sage Thrasher; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; Evening Grosbeak; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch; Spotted Towhee; Chipping Sparrow; Brewer’s Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; White-crowned Sparrow; Dark-eyed Junco; Yellow-breasted Chat; Bobolink; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brown-headed Cowbird; Brewer’s Sparrow; Northern Waterthrush; Orange-crowned Warbler; Nashville Warbler; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Townsend’s Warbler; Wilson’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting.

Photos: All by Chris Charlesworth, in order they appear: Sage Thrasher; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Bobolink; Brewer’s Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; Barred Owl.

South Okanagan Birding – May 24, 2021

I spent the day leading 4 friends from the Central Okanagan on a birding excursion to the South Okanagan. We met up in West Kelowna and made our way south to Penticton, where we had a quick look around the airport. The weather was quite variable today with morning rain showers and afternoon sunshine. It was lightly raining as we explored the airport, but the birds were still out. A few of the highlights included Calliope Hummingbird, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a calling Swainson’s Hawk, Bullock’s Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak and Lazuli Buntings.

Next up, we birded along White Lake Road, making several stops along the way. It was quite birdy along here, and we racked up a nice list of birds such as Lewis’s Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsucker, Calliope and Rufous hummingbirds, Steller’s Jay, Gray Catbird, Veery, Yellow-breasted Chat, Nashville and Wilson’s warblers, Western Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeak.

At White Lake we searched for, and eventually found, a singing Sage Thrasher. Other species found in the sagebrush included Mountain and Western bluebirds, Eastern and Western kingbirds, Western Meadowlarks and Vesper Sparrows. We had great views of a singing Clay-colored Sparrow this morning. A Lark Sparrow also cooperated nicely for photographs. I heard the grating calls of a Gray Partridge out in the sage as well. On White Lake itself there were ducks including Barrow’s Goldeneye, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Green-winged Teal and Ruddy Duck. Three Eared Grebes were on the lake as well. Along the shore were Killdeer and several Wilson’s Phalarope.

Next, we took a spin up McKinney Road near Oliver. I had staked out a male Black-chinned Hummingbird in a dry ravine and as soon as I pulled the vehicle off the road, I spotted the little fellow sitting atop a dead tree. Further up the road we scanned a field for a Long-billed Curlew, but unfortunately, it was nowhere to be seen today.

At Road 22 we tallied close to 60 species! New waterfowl included Cinnamon and Blue-winged teal and a pair of Hooded Mergansers. At the north end of Osoyoos Lake were Red-necked and Pied-billed grebes. Another male Black-chinned Hummingbird was seen well as it sat on a telephone wire. Raptors included Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk. A Willow Flycatcher gave its sneezy ‘fitzbew’ call in the distance. House, Marsh and Bewick’s wrens were all heard, but remained hidden from our sight. At least three Yellow-breasted Chats were heard, and briefly seen hopping about in the thick understory. A male Bobolink showed nicely in the hayfields along the west side of the river channel. Yellow Warblers seemed to be everywhere, and there were a few Black-headed Grosbeaks and Bullock’s Orioles here as well. I stumbled upon a pair of good sized Yellow-bellied Racer snakes that appeared to be mating. As their name implies, they are very fast snakes.

To finish off our tour, we visited the cliffs at Vaseux Lake. Canyon and Rock wrens sang from the cliffs, and we had great views of the Rock Wren. Overhead, White-throated Swifts were numerous. A couple of Lewis’s Woodpeckers appeared to be nesting in a large pine tree. Up in the pine forest we had our last couple of new species for the day, Cassin’s Finch and Townsend’s Solitaire. Our final day tally, as a group was 110 species.

Species List: Canada Goose; Blue-winged Teal; Cinnamon Teal; Northern Shoveler; Gadwall; Mallard; Green-winged Teal; Lesser Scaup; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Hooded Merganser; Ruddy Duck; California Quail; Gray Partridge; Ring-necked Pheasant; Pied-billed Grebe; Red-necked Grebe; Eared Grebe; Rock Pigeon; Eurasian Collared-Dove; Mourning Dove; White-throated Swift; Black-chinned Hummingbird; Rufous Hummingbird; Calliope Hummingbird; Virginia Rail; American Coot; Killdeer; Wilson’s Snipe; Spotted Sandpiper; Wilson’s Phalarope; Common Loon; Great Blue Heron; Turkey Vulture; Osprey; Northern Harrier; Sharp-shinned Hawk; Cooper’s Hawk; Bald Eagle; Swainson’s Hawk; Red-tailed Hawk; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Red-naped Sapsucker; Northern Flicker; American Kestrel; Western Kingbird; Eastern Kingbird; Western Wood-Pewee; Willow Flycatcher; Say’s Phoebe; Warbling Vireo; Steller’s Jay; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; American Crow; Common Raven; Tree Swallow; Violet-green Swallow; Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Bank Swallow; Cliff Swallow; Barn Swallow; Black-capped Chickadee; Mountain Chickadee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; Pygmy Nuthatch; Rock Wren; Canyon Wren; House Wren; Marsh Wren; Bewick’s Wren; Golden-crowned Kinglet; Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Western Bluebird; Mountain Bluebird; Townsend’s Solitaire; Veery; American Robin; Gray Catbird; Sage Thrasher; European Starling; Cedar Waxwing; House Sparrow; House Finch; Cassin’s Finch; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin; American Goldfinch; Spotted Towhee; Chipping Sparrow; Clay-colored Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Lark Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Yellow-breasted Chat; Bobolink; Western Meadowlark; Bullock’s Oriole; Red-winged Blackbird; Brown-headed Cowbird; Brewer’s Blackbird; Nashville Warbler; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Wilson’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Black-headed Grosbeak; Lazuli Bunting.

Photos: All by Chris Charlesworth, in order they appear: Gray Catbird, Clay-colored Sparrow, Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Tales and photographs of the adventures of Avocet Tours