Wednesday, May 16, 2012

100 Mile House - Lillooet

Bonaparte's Gull
Our second night at Horse Lake was spent much the same as the previous night, dinner alfresco around the campfire. However, this evening’s weather was in complete contrast to yesterday. A break in the recent hot spell and a strong north-westerly wind had ensued resulting in a red flag appearing out towards the middle of the lake, apparently depicting no fishing boats.

Prior to leaving the campground this morning a quick scan of an extremely choppy lake had a similar sized flock of Scoter, several Red-necked Grebe, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Merganser and the Common Loons seemed to be sheltering near the pontoons. A few California Gulls passed through and once again several Bonaparte Gulls were on the lake, one posed for a quick photograph.

After a fuel stop back at 100 Mile House we took highway 97 southwards until reaching Clinton and then the quieter and picturesque highway 99 towards tonight’s stop-over at Fraser Cove Campground, Lillooet.

Great To See Ruddy Duck!
We side tracked at 70 Mile House to check out a few of the many small marshy and lagoon areas in this part of the province and encountered the usual combination of waterfowl, notably: American Wigeon, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Scaup and Hooded Merganser. Also present, Pied-billed Grebe, Spotted Sandpiper and at one stop 6 Blue-winged Teal, the first we’d encountered since Inglewood Bird Sanctuary back in Calgary. It was also good to see Ruddy Duck, something that has become almost extinct in the UK, but don't get me started on that one!

A good number of Mountain Bluebirds were about and we had good views of a pair of these stunning looking birds mating next to a nesting box. Our first Pileated Woodpecker of this tour also burst onto the scene at one stage, its grating call echoing across the valley. A Ring-necked Pheasant was heard in the distance and also recorded were: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping and Savannah Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk and American Kestrel.

American Kestrel (On The Prowl)
As we continued in the now intermittent rain showers we passed a number of nesting Osprey and Bald Eagle and paused to take it all in. As we passed through Maple Canyon on the 99 we could see first hand what devastation a wildfire can cause, when dampening down procedures were still taking place in a large part of the area, a huge swath of the mountainside still smouldering away.

Just prior to reaching Pavilion, around 30 or so kilometres out of Lillooet, I noticed a black blob in a field to our left. This is nothing unusual, we spend a lot of our time looking at black blobs in fields but on this occasion and with Dee’s good instincts, we stopped to take a better look. Sure enough our first Black Bear of the tour enjoying a snack with not a care in the world. A great way to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary!

A Moving Black Blob!!
As we approached Lillooet we stopped on a few occasions to take in the dynamic scenery, with some amazing views of the fast running Fraser River, which seemed like a thousand feet below. Western Meadowlark could be heard singing and a few Raven and American Kestrel were also on the prowl.

We made Lillooet at around 4pm in now pouring rain, a novelty for this particular tour and unlike our last stop here in 2010 the Wifi is actually working. A celebratory champagne dinner tonight but sadly not around the campfire, the weather has turned!

BUBO Listing