Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Radium Springs to Golden

Red-tailed Hawk
From the Canyon RV Park, Radium Springs we set off for the town of Golden around mid morning, stopping for a swim in the famous hot springs before hitting highway 95. I’m pleased to say that the weather was much improved with long sunny periods and only the occasional shower, it was quite warm too at times.

Thankful that the low cloud that had dogged us for our first few days had lifted, it wasn’t long before we began to spot various Raptors as we made our way slowly along. On almost every bend American Kestrel and Merlin could be seen, enough Merlin to last you a lifetime in the UK!

Red-tailed Hawk is probably as common here as our very own Common Buzzard and at least 6 were seen before we stopped for lunch on the roadside near Brisco. Our lunch spot looked down on a number of lagoons which branch off the Columbian River, but temping as they were they were inaccessible due to the Canadian Pacific railroad which runs alongside the road for the whole length of today’s stretch. Before moving off we watched more Merlin and also some large flocks of smaller birds, which I believe, were Red Crossbill.

We stopped off at several observation points to take in the breathtaking views and at one stage walked down to stand on the rail tracks which overlooked a magnificent lagoon, Dee and I had passed through this very same spot last year when travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer. Our first Butterflies were recorded; one completely white, the other resembling a Clouded Yellow but more research is required on both. The Lagoon provided very little but Great Blue Heron and Ring-billed Gull were seen.

A short while later Dee spotted our first Bald Eagle of the trip, perched high in a dead tree looking magnificent in the bright sunshine, a couple of Osprey were also observed floating across the river nearby and before reaching Golden we also managed Swainson’s Hawk and a definite on the Red Crossbill.

Golden Eco Adventure Ranch is our overnight stay and once again upon arrival we were warned regarding Grizzly and Black Bear which had been seen very recently. After hitching up to electric and water we decided to set off for a walk along the Columbian River, shall I say with our wits about us!! Amazing views of an Osprey fishing, a second Bald Eagle, Merlin, Great Blue Heron, plus White-crowned and White-throated Sparrow were the birding highlights, but I have to say that the Bear Poo we discovered was even more fascinating, a huge black mound with lots of berries within.

To end a fantastic day my first Pileated Woodpecker flew right overhead as I walked to the shower block, roll on tomorrow!!