At 6:30 AM I met up with three clients, Mark, Don and Jen, near the west end of the Bennett Bridge in Kelowna. Mark is from Peru and is an active birder, while Dave and Jen are more casual birders from Kelowna.
Our first stop was at Munson Pond, where from a viewing platform, we had nice views of
a number of Wood Ducks. We had our only Great Blue Heron of the day, perched in a tree on the far side of the pond. A little ‘island’ in the middle of the pond had Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer and our only Least Sandpiper for the day. Eastern Kingbirds sallied out to catch bugs from cottonwoods along the lake’s edge and a couple of Red-tailed Hawks sat on nearby snags.
The next stop was at Sutherland Hills Park. Here, we wandered through the Ponderosa Pine forest, exploring a small pond, ringed with berry bushes. Highlights here were a Hairy Woodpecker, some Black-capped Chickadees, Cedar Waxwings, more Eastern Kingbirds and American Robins. Perhaps the birds were hiding, we thought, due to a steady rain that fell on us at this location. To cheer us up, I spotted a roosting Western Screech-Owl that stared at us from his hiding spot.
At Robert Lake, in Kelowna, there was plenty to look at, including an impressive array of waterfowl. There were hundreds of Ruddy Ducks about, and lesser numbers of Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, Redheads, Mallards, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal and also Pied-billed and Eared grebes. Raptors included Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk, and we had views of Virginia Rail and Sora. Shorebirds were mostly hidden behind the reeds, but we did add Wilson’s Snipe, and Lesser and Greater yellowlegs. Every swallow species found in the Okanagan was seen here, and in the reeds we had both Red-winged and Yellow-headed blackbirds. With 34 species seen here in a short time, Robert Lake is always a highlight.
We made our way north along Glenmore Road, adding a Swainson’s Hawk to the list, along the way. The journey up Beaver Lake Road produced upwards of 60 species today.
We were lucky that the temperatures were not smoking hot and the bird activity was quite good throughout the afternoon. In the grassland areas of lower Beaver Lake Road, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Swainson’s Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk made appearances, along with several American Kestrels and a Merlin. Western Meadowlarks, Western and Eastern kingbirds, Say’s Phoebe, Vesper Sparrows, and a Western Bluebird were all nice to see along the fences at the edge of the road. Lazuli Buntings were quite numerous, and we saw some House Wrens as well. In a patch of berry bushes we had nice views of Nashville Warblers, a Black-headed Grosbeak, a with Gray Catbird, Spotted Towhee as well as Bullock’s Oriole and Western Tanager.
We entered the forested areas of Beaver Lake Road at around km 8, and began to encounter different species at each stop such as Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pine Siskin, Cassin’s Finch, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Western Wood-Pewee. A group of 6-7 young Ruffed Grouse flushed from the edge of one trail, and at the same time a Barred Owl hooted in the distance. Red-naped Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker and Northern Flicker, all woodpecker species, were great to see this afternoon.
We had lunch at Beaver Lake, where Common Loons, Osprey and both Barn and Tree swallows were tallied, and then we took a stroll through the woods to the south of Beaver Lake Lodge. We didn’t see too much, other than some Dark-eyed Juncos, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Northern Flicker, but we did have excellent views of a female Spruce Grouse! The bird lived up to its name as ‘foolhen’ as we strolled right past it about 8 feet away. She eventually flew up into a spruce and watched us pass by.
Along Dee Lake Road, at our first stop, we were treated to stunning views of a Northern Pygmy-Owl! The owl was being mobbed by quite the number of birds like American Robins, Dark-eyed Juncos, Mountain Chickadees and Yellow-rumped Warblers. We had nice looks at a Townsend’s Warbler here today.
At Dee Lake itself, a stroll along a path following the lakeshore, was quite enjoyable. There were Steller’s Jays about, and hummingbird feeders attracted both Rufous and
Calliope hummingbirds. Up to four Northern Waterthrushes came in to investigate some ‘pishing’, and they were joined by Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler and Song Sparrows. A Lincoln’s Sparrow, our only for the day, paused to check us out at one point. It was now getting late in the afternoon and we had encountered just over a hundred species (104 to be exact), so we headed back through Kelowna and across the Bennett Bridge where I dropped Mark, Dave and Jen off after a very enjoyable late summer’s day of birding.