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Sapsuckers and Bluebirds, a trip to Anarchist Pass

This spring I went on my first trip, in the past two years, to Anarchist Pass in the Kootenay Boundary region. Anarchist Pass is about two hours and 45 minutes away from my home town of Nelson so we usually only go once or twice a year. On our way there we saw a flock of California Quail, which, surprisingly, turned out to be the only ones we saw that day.

California Quail

When we arrived at the first loop road we saw a beautiful Western Meadowlark singing next to the road as well a pair of Mountain Bluebirds. By the end of the day we had seen over 40 Mountain Bluebirds.

Western Meadowlark

Mountain Bluebird

As we continued along the first loop road, we saw many blackbirds including a Brewer's and heard a Killdeer. Further along, we heard the first sapsucker of the day tapping in the forest across the field but it was too far away to locate. At the next corner we saw a Clark's Nutcracker fly over and land near our car. We continued to look for Williamson's Sapsucker along this part of the road, but did not see any. We saw the first pair of Western Bluebirds and as we drove past them we finally heard and saw two male Williamson's Sapsuckers which flew and landed in a tree less than 5 meters in front of us.

We continued along to the next loop road where we hoped to see Pygmy Nuthatch and more Williamson's Sapsuckers. As soon as we stopped the car an adult Golden Eagle flew over and offered good views. At this stop we dipped on Pygmy Nuthatch, but we did get great views and photos of three more Williamson's Sapsuckers and another Golden Eagle, this time an immature.

Williamson's Sapsucker

Williamson's Sapsucker

Further along the loop, we decided to go down a side road that we had never birded before. Immediately, we saw a flock of about 40 Common Redpolls feeding next to the road as well as a calling White-breasted Nuthatch.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Common Redpoll

As we were leaving, I saw a flock of at least 80 finches fly by and immediately thought "Grey-crowned Rosy Finch!" We went back only to see the flock flying away over the ridge. None of the people I was birding with saw the finches so, sadly, we couldn't call them for sure.

It really was a great day and I'm looking forward to going back later in the year.

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