Birding the Okanagan in March

On the evening of March 25 I met with two clients from the Vancouver area. It was a lovely evening as we made our way up Beaver Lake Road in Lake Country. Grassland species we encountered included WESTERN MEADOWLARKS, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE and RED-TAILED HAWK to name a few. We tried unsuccessfully for grouse at a couple of locations on our way up the road.

Once it was dark we began our search for one of the harder species of owl to find in the area, Boreal Owl. I’m not going to include the location of the sighting here, but we did eventually find and have brief looks at a BOREAL OWL, one of Uday’s target species. Otherwise we had no different owls tonight, but we did enjoy a gorgeous night sky.

In the morning on March 26, I met up with Uday and his wife and we drove south to Okanagan Falls, enjoying some great scenery along the way.

Ruffed Grouse, OK Falls, BC. March 2016. Chris Charlesworth.

Weather was fantastic today with mostly sunny skies and fairly mild temperatures. In the upper elevations it was a bit cooler and breezy, but still quite nice. Our first stop along Shuttleworth Ck Rd produced a RUFFED GROUSE, another of Uday’s targets. The bird was sitting in a tree eating pussy willows next to the road.

Along Venner Meadows Rd we have great views of a male WILLIAMSON’S

Male Williamson’s Sapsucker. OK Falls, BC. March 2016. Photo Uday Sant.

SAPSUCKER in the larch trees. Other species noted here included PILEATED WOODPECKER and PINE GROSBEAK.

Once at Rabbit Lake the temps cooled down and we bundled up. We tried for about an hour and a half for Boreal Chickadees with no luck. We had a few groups of birds that mostly included RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES and MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES, and heard GRAY JAY and BROWN CREEPER. Just as we were about to give up I spotted a BOREAL CHICKADEE beside the road at km 23, along with mixed chickadee / nuthatch flock. Success!

Boreal Chickadee. OK Falls, BC. March 2016. Uday Sant.

Finally, we spent a short time birding around Vaseux Lake where highlights included a few GREEN-WINGED TEAL at the banding station, and a singing CANYON WREN at the cliffs. All in all, it was a very enjoyable day and evening with the Sants.

Chris Charlesworth






One thought on “Birding the Okanagan in March”

  1. Thanks a lot Chris for a great time birding around the Okanagan !! Was our first time around Kelowna and we were highly impressed by the stunning beauty of the area.
    Your persistence helped…..the target birds we got sure made us work for them but was worth it !! Getting to see (not just a heard only) a boreal owl in the wild deep in the mountains will be a memory to stay !! – Uday

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