Sunday, October 03, 2010

Whistler to Squamish & Home

Spotted Towhee
We took the relatively short drive from Whistler, only 50kms, to our final destination of Squamish where we'll spend our final two nights before returning the RV to Vancouver on Saturday.

To be honest I was glad to get back into the wilderness and arriving at Paradise Valley Campground we'd found just that. The campground has several trails, one of which runs alongside Chickamus Salmon River, and we found a number of prints in the surrounding sand, one of which was Black Bear possibly accompanied by a cub. Although too early to enjoy the spectacle, this area also plays host to literally thousands of Bald eagles which gather each winter. The Squamish River Valley has long been recognised as one of the most significant areas of wintering bald eagles in North America. In the 1994 bird count, Squamish had the world record count of 3,769 eagles.

After settling in to our site we took an early evening walk along the river and around the Squamish Fish Hatchery, which is located just across the rail track. During the walk we picked up Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow, a very friendly Steller's Jay and Chestnut-backed Chickedee, but the wife picked up her bird of the day! As per usual Dee was alerted to some scratching around the dead leaves well within the undergrowth, normally a Red squirrel Junko or some amphibian, but this time after a good few minutes patiently waiting she came up trumps with a Spotted Towhee, pictured above.

We also located a small lake at the back of the campground where we watched a couple of American Dipper for a short while, and we also came across a huge Pike showing well in the crystal clear water, Dee also flushed a Great Blue Heron, much to her delight.

On Saturday, our final full day, we took a drive down to the Squamish Estuary and just prior to entering the dirt track which takes you down to the waters edge came across no less than three Turkey Vulture enjoying a thermal. We enjoyed the rest of the day in glorious sunshine overlooking the estuary mouth and walking the area, adding a whole host of other species to end our tour list. Black Seal, Western Meadowlark, Townsend Warbler, American Goldfinch, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Swainson Thrush and Gulls such as Glaucous, Glaucous-winged, Herring, Mew and Western were all recorded.

Our last evening was spent as we'd spent several others, enjoying a good meal and good conversation around a campfire, along with the company of the many Red Squirrel which have been with us throughout our stay. I write this post having just arrived back aboard my home, Narrowboat-Quidditch and before totally crashing out! Tomorrow I'll complete a final summary and species list of our amazing Canada 2010 Tour, but for now it's goodbye Canada.