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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Princeton Weekend with Langley Field Naturalists



Friday to Sunday May 6th to 8th 
Princeton Two Night Trip
Leaders: Gareth Pugh and Ed and Cathy Lahaie.
It is alway exiting to visit another area of the province so when the opportunity arose to join the Langley Field Naturalists and the Vermillion Fork Field Naturalists in Princeton it was just too good a chance to pass up. The area has many lakes, wetlands, grasslands, moist and dry forests all of which are great habitats for a variety of birds that are not normally seen on the Coast.
Friday night began with a trip to Separation Lake where I am told over thirty species of birds were seen. This writer missed the trip but instead swung by August Lake where a herd of elk put an appearance, but alas no Williamson's Sapsucker.


Saturday saw our group joined again by our gracious hosts from the Vermillion Forks Field Naturalists. We then headed for a hike around picturesque Wolfe Lake. 


Wolfe Lake

Wolfe Lake

Belted Kingfisher at Wolfe Lake

We walked around the lake a distance of about 5 kms. Among the species spotted were a pair of bald eagles, black-billed magpie, song sparrow, red-naped sapsuckers, warbling vireo, yellow-rumped warbler, common yellowthroat, Nashville warbler, belted kingfisher, American kestrel, Cooper's hawk, bufflehead, mew gull and spotted sandpiper. During lunch we watched a colony of Richardson's ground squirrels.


Langley Field Naturalists were hosted by the Vermillion Forks Field Naturalists both groups seen here just before setting off on a hike around the lake.

Nashville Warbler at Wolfe Lake.



Langley and Vermillion Field Naturalists walk around Wolfe Lake.

August Lake
Solitary Sandpiper
After lunch we headed to August Lake in search of the elusive Williamson's Sapsucker and even with the help of local experienced birders we dipped. We did with the help of Gareth's keen eye have great views of a solitary sandpiper. I managed to creep close enough for ID shot above.

Before supper we tried again at Ferguson Lake for a Williamson's Sapsucker at but again no luck, we did however spot a pair of ruddy duck, a turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk, mountain bluebird, vesper sparrow and a flock of Cassin's finch.

After supper we drove to Separation Lake. What a beautiful spot, open ranch lands surrounded by snow capped mountains, BEAUTIFUL BC!
The first sighting was a nesting Say's phoebe then a mountain bluebird followed in quick succession by a rufous hummingbird, vesper sparrow, northern harrier, rough-winged swallow, western meadowlark and spotted sandpiper.

Seperation Lake
Vesper Sparrow backlit and last shot of the day.
Next morning we visited our gracious hosts Ed and Cathy Lahaie who had a well stocked feeder at the bottom of the garden. A flock of Cassin's finch and evening grosbeak kept everyones camera busy.  For many the Cassin's were lifers.
Cassin's Finch
Evening Grosbeak (male)

Evening Grosbeak  (female)
Calliope Hummingbird
As an added bonus a beautiful Calliope hummer came to the bird feeder and that wasn't all!


A mountain chickadee had taken up in a nest box beside the garage. I only saw it once when came to the feeder for a brief moment.

Mountain Chickadee

We all left Princeton with a greater appreciation of the area and it's a good bet many of us will return whenever we want our fix of Interior birds and better its only three hours from Langley.

We stayed at Castle Rock campsite which is between Separation Lake and downtown Princeton. Below are a few of our fellow campers/neighbours.

Yellow-bellied Marmot

This one a different colour.
Al I know if that we had a great time, saw some amazing birds, saw and recorded 99 species and made some new friends. I'll be back for sure. Finally a big thanks to all those from both clubs whose hard work made the trip such a success.



"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon
Langley/Cloverdale 
BC Canada

1 comment:

  1. Princeton is such a gorgeous place indeed! Sounds like a fab trip you will need to go back to August Lake for those sapsuckers!!

    Great birds thanks for sharing John.

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