I spent the day with Mike and Jan from Portland, Oregon and we enjoyed warm and sunny temperatures throughout our travels in the South Okanagan. We left West Kelowna at the crack of dawn and made our first stop along the trail at Hardy Falls in Peachland. I’ve tried several times at this location to find American Dippers and have been unsuccessful for about the past 4 tries, including today. We had some other species here however, so all was not lost. We saw a pair of Red-eyed Vireos along the babbling stream
, as well as a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, some Western Wood-Pewees, Gray Catbirds, Black-headed Grosbeak, Steller’s Jay, Cassin’s Finch, Spotted Towhee and a Rufous Hummingbird here. Not a bad start! We then carried on to Okanagan Lake Provincial Campground where we lucked into an adult and juvenile Western Screech-Owl roosting. Mike spotted a Red-naped Sapsucker that didn’t hang about for long. Clark’s Nutcracker was calling here, but remained hidden. After a short pit-stop in Penticton we carried on south to White Lake where a bit of searching turned up a male Lazuli Bunting, an Eastern Kingbird, several Western Meadowlarks, a Hairy Woodpecker, Vesper Sparrows and one Sage Thrasher. An American Kestrel was seen as it harassed a Cooper’s Hawk. There was little on the lake itself, other than one Killdeer. A little roadside wetland just south of White Lake had a single Wilson’s Phalarope, as well as Mallard and Green-winged Teal.
Next on the agenda was to explore some of the upper elevation forests, east of Okanagan Falls so we bumped up the Shuttleworth Road, pausing along the way to enjoy excellent scope views of a Lewis’s Woodpecker in an old Ponderosa Pine. We were enjoying views of the woodpecker, when suddenly a male Mountain Bluebird popped into view and stole the show for a moment. We spent the next hour or so exploring Dutton Creek Road where the birding seemed very slow. Nonetheless, we did have Mountain Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Dark-eyed Juncos, a Towsend’s Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, an elusive MacGillivray’s Warbler and several Pine Siskins. A search of the Venner Larches produced very little, but we did see two Gray Jays gliding through the conifers here. Venner Meadows was quite birdy and we had nice scope views of both Olive-sided Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher here. In the willow thickets were Northern Water-
thrush, Common Yellowthroat, calling Orange-crowned and Nashville warblers, Lincoln’s Sparrow and immature White-crowned Sparrows. Up to 4 Red-naped Sapsuckers showed nicely here, but perhaps the real highlight was watching two juvenile Northern Harriers that looked fairly freshly fledged, frolicking about the meadows. To finish off the day we headed up to Rabbit Lake for some boreal forest birding, but again, probably due to the heat, it was rather quiet. We saw both Hermit and Swainson’s thrushes here, and we enjoyed watching a territorial Spotted Sandpiper on the gravel road in front of us. The bird was acting as though it was trying to lead us away from its nest. On Rabbit Lake was a female Barrow’s Goldeneye with 7 large ducklings. At the end of our day we had tallied approximately 80 species of birds, which was pretty good, especially since it was such a hot, sunny day.
Chris Charlesworth, Avocet Tours