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A Trip to the Okanagan

During the first week of spring break, my mom and I decided to go bird in the Okanagan near Osoyoos, BC for three days. On our way from Nelson to our Airbnb outside of Osoyoos, our main stop was Anarchist Pass. Here, we birded Sidley Mountain Road for just over two hours. Right away, we found a tree containing Mountain Bluebirds, Pygmy Nuthatch, and a pair of Clark's Nutcracker. Just across the road, a Pileated Woodpecker drummed incessantly on a telephone pole, in hopes of attracting a mate.

Mountain Bluebird (3)

Mountain Bluebird (4)

Clark's Nutcracker

Pygmy Nuthatch

As we continued along the road, we located a calling Williamson's Sapsucker, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatch, as well as two Say's Phoebes. I was not able to get photos of these. In total, we found 28 species of birds at this location.

That evening, at our Airbnb, we heard a California Quail calling on a distant hillside.

The next morning, we went to the Osoyoos Oxbows on the Okanagan River. Here, we found Ring-necked Pheasant, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Harrier and many different species of migrating waterfowl.

Ring-necked Pheasant

White-crowned Sparrow (2)

Northern Harrier

After seeing these birds, we drove to Meadowlark Lane, or Haynes Lease Park where we were lucky enough to see singing Canyon Wrens, Western bluebirds, and multiple Say’s Phoebes.

Canyon Wren

Western bluebird

Say’s Phoebe

We also observed a Peregrine Falcon on the cliffs above, a Turkey Vulture soaring through the sky, Black-billed Magpies carrying nesting materials, several House Finches, many Dark-eyed Juncos, and a Spotted Towhee.

After eating lunch, we drove to Nighthawk Road in search of Grey Partridge, an introduced bird that is hard to find in Canada. Although we did not see the Partridge, we did see a Chukar, another introduced, grouse-like bird. Sadly, I was not able to get a photo as the bird flushed from the grass and landed far away.

On the way back from Nighthawk Road, we stopped at Frank Lake which is known for its large numbers of Mergansers. We saw upwards of 75 mergansers, but the highlight of this stop was the 16 or more Bald Eagles sitting in the trees and soaring over the lake.

Bald Eagle

On the following day it was time to start the drive home. We had to pick something up in Kelowna so we decided to stop at a bird sanctuary on Okanagan Lake. This proved to be a good decision as it was here that I got my lifer Glaucous Gull along with many other species of gulls including California, Herring, Iceland, and Ring-billed.

Glaucous Gull

In the nearby bushes, my mom spotted a California Quail which allowed me to get my first excellent photo of this bird.

California Quail

All in all, it was an excellent trip and it gave me a taste of the much larger spring migration that is soon to come.