Saturday 7 September 2019

Before and After

Before heading toward Golden and the annual British Columbia Federation of Ornithologists (BCFO) conference fellow birder George Clulow and myself took the opportunity to visit a few select locations on the way. Golden is a long drive from Langley so we decided to take our time. It not only broke up the driving but provided us with a variety habitats to explore at a leisurely pace.
Cheam Lake near Chilliwack was the first stop followed by an amazing mornings birding with Alan Bergen. The lakes around Merrit and Creston's Duck Lake were just a few of the places we visited. George's finely tuned ear also got me onto numerous species especially my nemesis the Veery, a bird we heard but was yet to see. A secretive species at the best of times it remained off my life list until one turned up in Fort Langley July 14. I was my 400th Canadian species and therefore a special bird, especially as they are not often encountered in the Lower Mainland.

Day 1 
Cheam Lake 

Our first stop was at Cheam Lake near Chilliwack. We had great views of an Osprey fishing, a Black-headed Grosbeak collecting grubs as well as an interesting selection of dragonflies.
Black-headed Grosbeak picking up grubs

Osprey  P1000

Marsh Marigold leaf pattern

Eight-spotted Skimmer

Kane Valley

After Hope and an early start we made our way up the Kane Valley. We met up with a local birder who generously showed us one of his favourite spots. We walked through pastureland, flowering meadows, a small marsh and an aspen forest. There were plenty of decaying trees for cavity nesters like Mountain Bluebirds, Red-naped and Williamson's Sapsuckers. The wild grasses and open spaces were perfect for Vesper, Lincoln's and Savannah Sparrows. At the time of our visit no cattle had been sent out to graze so hopefully the ground nesters will have fledged by that time. Our almost four hour walk produced forty-seven species. 
Spotted Sandpiper

Dusky Flycatcher

Mountain Bluebird

Williamson's Sapsucker (Male)

Williamson's Sapsucker (Female)

Williamson's Sapsucker brings food to the nest.
D500 and 200mm-500mm


We had another two stops near Merrit. First the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive Site where the usual Ruddy ducks were absent. We were however rewarded have excellent views of the resident Osprey which has been provided with a platform to nest on. There are a number of world class fly fishing lakes close by which I am sure raises the ire of every angler when they see the Osprey flying away with a fat trout. No catch and release for the avian fisher.


                                   Guichon Ranch - Beaver Ranch Flats

Yellow-headed Blackbird

 Logan Lake

A flat tire at Tunkwa Lake saw us making a detour to Logan Lake. Following repairs we went for lunch at the local lake where we had some really good birding along the riparian area and again in the lake itself where George spotted a Canvasback with a brood, something I might have easily overlooked.

Canvasback with some of her brood.
Nikon D500 and 200mm-500mm

They eventually got so close we both sat and enjoyed their presence.

Hybrid Red-naped Red Breasted Sapsucker
D500 Nikon 200mm-500mm

Salmon Arm

We broke the journey at Salmon Arm which gave the opportunity to bird three separate locations. We picked up new trip species at most all of them. The highlight for me a least were the two-hundred or so Black Swifts that were feeding over the lake and above our heads. I had never seen so many, the low cloud and drizzle had kept the insect hatch low enough for us to observe the birds and even grab a few pictures. Note the bird in the photograph below is an immature. 

Black Swift
Nikon D500 Nikon 200mm-500mm f5.6 

Return journey via Creston

Who could miss a big white American White Pelican. A small flock of Ring-billed Gulls and a pair of  Forster's Terns and numerous Eastern Kingbirds were just a few of the species added to our lengthy list now topping 100 species.
American White-Pelican
Not as sharp an image as I would like but handheld at 3000mm works well enough for an ID shot.

The wide angle of the P1000 at 24mm make capturing scenics a breeze. 

'Sweet Light' pours through the folds of mountains to the west. On closer inspection were various species of ducks including Blue-winged Teal were found foraging round the lake edges. 

Blue-winged Teal

The afternoon winds subsided leaving Duck Lake a millpond.

A great Blue Heron hunts in the food rich waters of Duck Lake.

Eastern Kingbird
 Duck Lake

"It's never too late to post another blog"
John Gordon
BC Canada

1 comment:

  1. gorgeous shots i particularly love the duck lake heron well done