Birding in the Okanagan (BC)

A few weeks ago, I went to the Okanagan for the first time in over four decades. I don’t remember much about my early childhood visits, but this visit was quite memorable, not least because of the number of interesting birds I was able to see, even though I did not do any birding expeditions as such.

I thought I would start with a few posts of the some of the region’s landscape. The photos below were shot entirely in beautiful Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, right next to the city of Vernon. Since this was one of the driest (if not the driest) July on record in most of British Columbia, the desertic aspect of the Okanagan was fully on display, even 200 km north of the actual Osoyoos Desert, which we unfortunately did not get to see this time.

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I did not photograph as many birds as I would have liked, in part because I did not want to take an eternity while hiking with my family and friends, but a few choice shots (some of which had to be heavily cropped to provide detail) have been included here. Some of the birds I did not capture include a flock of Clark’s Nutcrackers (a lifer for me) noisily harassing a Red-tailed Hawk, a couple of California Quails (another lifer) herding their young so that they would not get run over by cars, not to mention a Chukar that I heard very clearly a mere two to three meters from me, but that I never got to see. Turns out that a minute after leaving that area, a coyote ran out to cross the trail… I’m guessing this explains why this rather plump bird did not feel like being seen. I also wish I could have captured the twenty or so Common Nighthawks we saw flying by the highway coming out of the city of Osoyoos, as the sun was setting and we were returning home.

In any event, here are a few pictures that I did manage to get on our recent trip. One of the highlights is the Western Wood-Pewee on its nest, which we can see very clearly in the picture below.

California Quail (male) | Vernon, BC | August 2013

California Quail (male) | Vernon, BC | August 2013

Mallard (female, with young) | Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park | August 2013

Mallard (female, with young) | Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park | August 2013

Osprey | Vernon, BC | August 2013

Osprey | Vernon, BC | August 2013

Western Wood-Pewee (on nest) | Vernon, BC | August 2013

Western Wood-Pewee (on nest) | Vernon, BC | August 2013

Western Wood-Pewee (pair) | Vernon, BC | August 2013

Western Wood-Pewee (pair) | Vernon, BC | August 2013

I very much look forward to my next trip to the Okanagan, perhaps next summer, if not earlier!

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