Saturday, November 7, 2009

B.C. Trip Epilogue

Four months have now past since Jean and I travelled to British Columbia. This was my first time exploring western Canada and in addition to the birding I was also looking forward to the impressive terrain of the Rockies and the Kootenays.

Image by Jill Hampson

Though lifers can still occur in Ontario (three since my June vacation), visiting two western provinces was sure to add a bountiful number of birds to the life list.

On Day One of our vacation we ticked three lifers in Alberta. Black-billed Magpie and Franklin's Gull in the city of Calgary and a Swainson's Hawk while travelling south on Highway 2. I do find it interesting that Black-billed Magpies (described as a common and very conspicuous bird of western North America) were only observed in Calgary and no where else during our travels.

Day Two, a total of 5 lifers. Without leaving the grounds of the Tara Shanti we were able to tick Rufous Humming Bird and MacGillivray's Warbler. While waiting for the ferry in Kootenay Bay, Violet-green Swallows were seen. On the west side of Kootenay Lake we found Varied Thrush and a Barrow's Golden Eye while visiting Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park.

Day Three, a resplendent male Lazuli Bunting was heard singing and spotted with our bins while exploring the shops on the Artisan Way in Crawford Bay. After digiscoping Bald Eagles at the Crawford Bay Wetlands we returned to the Tara Shanti and ticked a Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

Day Four, before crossing Kootenay Lake for a day in Nelson, we ticked our lifer Cassin's Vireo.

Day Five would be our biggest day for lifers. A total of six. During the four hours we visited the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, we ticked Say's Phoebe, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Black-headed Grosbeak, Western Kingbird and Cinnamon Teal.

In the afternoon, Jean and I were rewarded with a lifer Pine Grosbeak (male) while hiking a trail at the Kootenay Pass.

Day Six we visited Greg and Keith and while birding on their property we ticked Vaux's Swift and Western Tanager.

On Day Seven, we would add Hammond's Flycatcher to the life list before leaving the Kootenay's behind.

Arriving in Lake Louise, we ticked a lifer Clark's Nutcracker on Day Eight.

Our last day out west would yield one more lifer, Mountain Bluebird.

A total of 22 lifers added over 9 days. My favourite lifer observed during our trip to British Columbia was the Western Tanager pair observed on Greg and Keith's property, The Summit. Jean spotted the female first and a moment or two later, the male responded to my pishing. What colours on this bird! This was one of the species on our target list.

Other target birds observed included, Clark's Nutcracker (much easier than I thought it would be), Rufous Hummingbird and Mountain Bluebird.

A target species that eluded Jean and I was a bird we thought for sure we would find. Keith and Greg had informed us that the bird visited their kitchen on a daily basis last year. Unfortunately we would only see this bird on a banner while visiting the town of Kaslo.

Yes, a Stellar's Jay was not seen during our trip out west.

The number of species observed in B.C. was 78. The newly added provincial list shares second spot with New York on my State/Provincial lists. Alberta sits in ninth (22 species) behind the state lists of Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina. I don't see any changes occurring too soon with the majority of these lists but a simple crossing to Niagara Falls, New York could easily put the state list back into second spot on its own.

At this time, we have no plans to travel outside of Ontario in 2010. While the life birds observed in B.C. and Alberta will be forever etched in my memory, it's back to local birding and monitoring the Ontbirds report in order to add species to the life list.

No comments:

Post a Comment