Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cherryville - Kelowna

Western Kingbird
Prior to leaving the Gold Pan Campground Dee and I took a morning walk around some of the trails and down towards the Shuswap River. As the name suggests this is an old gold prospecting area, very fascinating and full of old prospectors memorabilia. Birds of note were: Nashville Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Varied Thrush, Golden-crowned Kinglet, several soaring Turkey Vulture constantly harassed by Raven, plus Dee spotted a Garter Snake which slithered out in front of our path.

Shortly after Vernon and prior to heading south down towards Kelowna we took a side road and stopped off for lunch overlooking an old First Nation Reserve. As I was wandering around camera and binoculars in hand it was a bit of a shock to be confronted by two huge guys in a pick-up, who pointed out that this was a private reserve! After a brief chat and explaining what I was up to I was allowed to continue and told to 'Have a great day' by what turned out to be a couple of really nice guys. However, I still can't see where we took a wrong turn!! The reserve produced some good birds too with Mourning Dove, American Goldfinch and Western Kingbird.

Colourful California Quail
The drive south down towards Kelowna is beautiful and scenic and constantly runs along the Okanagan Lake. Unfortunately for Dee and I there were simply no stop off areas to explore the wildlife. In fact nearly all of the journey is residential with most of the lake views containing private residence, you get the impression it's all about real-estate! To compound our disappointment when we did in fact reach Kelowna the Campground was fully booked, over 178 RV sites and we ended up for the night in car park paying the same rate. Apparently this is the busiest campground in the whole of BC.

Skulking Spotted Towhee
Making the best of what we had we managed to at least get a place overlooking the lake and to be fair we always make the best of things and it wasn't as bad as it sounds. Sunday morning prior to making an early start I managed a walk alongside the lake and ended up with a good selection of birds which included: California Quail, Spotted Towhee, Killdeer, Common Merganser, Orange-crowned Warbler, Brewer's Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler and American Kestrel.

We made the decision to give up on the area and head back north-west and come in to Vancouver from the north, the original plan being from the south. To be fair the Okanagan is a very beautiful and scenic region and you can see why people are drawn here but for Dee and I we much prefer the wilderness!