UPDATE # 1 – The rest of my epic drive out west

Bird highlights:

July 10 – After picking up my Jeep, I decided it was time to get out of the scorching Okanagan heat and retreat for the hills. I took an afternoon drive up to the Revelstoke area, and drove up part of the Mount Revelstoke National Park road. Part way up the mountain, in an area dominated by tall spruce I finally encountered a few TOWNSEND’S WARBLERS. I heard one and was able to get some great views of a second bird singing nearby (down low, and right beside the road!).


July 12 – The Okanagan

I tired once again (unsuccessfully) for Gray Flycatcher along a road at a known breeding location (thanks to a handy guide to birding in the Okanagan). I was there in the heat of the afternoon, so I was not at all surprised to get skunked. Birds in general are not vocalizing as much at this point in the breeding season, so this may be a species that I miss in 2013. I may give it another try on my way back to Ontario, as I am still missing a few other species that could be in this area.

On my was back down the road I was able to scrounge up a couple of MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES, which was a bird I thought I would have encountered way earlier in the year. Finally!

I have also noticed that this area of BC is infested with deer! I had another very close call with a buck along one of the highways. The silly thing pranced within 2-3 meters of my car as I was zipping down the road! I have seen several others foraging in the ditches. It is way too much stress for me, and my Jeep!


July 13 – Vancouver Island

As I type this update I am currently ferrying across from Vancouver to Vancouver Island where I plan to track down a few more birds before heading back to Vancouver for a week.

I decided to take a late morning ferry in beautiful sunny weather…on a weekend. Bad move! Ha. There are so many people that I can barely find a space along the deck to scan for birds. I will certainly be taking the earliest ferry that I can when I return to the mainland. During my brief stint on the top deck I did spy a few porpoise swimming by, and a random backlit hummingbird. I don’t know what type, but probably a Rufous? Rufous would be a lifer for me, so hopefully I can track one down soon…

Upon arriving in Victoria I decided to check out Clover Point, in the hopes that there would be a new gull species to add to my list. I was immediately able to find several CALIFORNIA GULLS as well as my main target, a nice HEERMAN’S GULL!


Photo: Heerman’s Gull at Clover Point, Victoria, BC

The rest of my stay on the island was dedicated to visiting with friends.

After my quick trip to the island it was back to the mainland where the rest of my time in BC was spent visiting with family and friends. I started my journey back to Ontario in the last week of July. I didn’t add any new species on my way back through the Rockies, but I did see a GRIZZLY BEAR walking along the Trans-Canada Highway close to Banff. Super cool!

Once I crossed over into the prairies the weather took a turn for the worse and it was a fairly uneventful drive.


July 25 – Chaplin Lake, Saskatchewan

A quick stop at this saline lake produced my first year bird in several days. A few BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS where feeding with the numerous American Avocets and Willets.


Photo: Chaplin Lake, Saskatchewan

I continued eastward and encountered more nasty and cold weather through my drive through Ontario. What a difference from the clear, hot and sunny weather of BC.

It was a very fun several weeks, and I was able to add several life birds as well as several new birds for me in Canada. I missed several species, but when I return for a pelagic trip in September I hope to be able to find a few of them!




About canadabigyear2013

I'm a lifelong birder and naturalist who is undertaking a Canada Big Year in 2013.
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