Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Golden to Halcyon

White-crowned Sparrow
Prior to hitting the main highway we paid a visit to a large lagoon on the outskirts of Golden that Dee and I had discovered on a previous trip in 2010. The area is a designated community nature reserve, something the UK should perhaps consider.

One of the reasons for stopping here was to look for Yellow-headed Blackbird, a summer visitor to this part of the country and which we hoped had arrived on site. We weren’t disappointed as several of these distinctive looking birds were visible, sadly within the far reed bed offering no chance of a decent photograph but terrific birds to watch. Marsh Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Bufflehead, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Great Blue Heron, and American Coot were also noted. Butterflies included Mourning Cloak, Comma and Azure Blue.

The road from Golden to Revelstoke is all new territory for Dee and I and is literally all main highway with very few stop offs to search for wildlife. The scenery is absolutely stunning as you pass through Glacier National Park and the road can be demanding too in places with many pot holes. At this height, around 1500 meters, the snow is still feet deep and you pass through a number of snow tunnels designed to divert avalanches, plentiful in this area.

Brown-headed Cowbird (Apologies for over exposure)
After stopping at Tim Horton’s (our favourite coffee) in Revelstoke after a 2hr drive we moved south on highway 23 towards Shelter Bay. Here we cross Arrow Lake by small ferry but unfortunately things didn’t go quite according to plan. With the main ferry under maintenance a smaller ferry was being used resulting in long delays. In fact some truckers had been waiting for over 6 hours as the ferry was only carrying 1 truck and 10 cars per crossing. We spent the time investigating the surrounding area, listening to the Raven’s constantly calling, watching an Osprey and Coopers Hawk drift over occasionally and I had the opportunity to get close up to a Brown-headed Cowbird.

Fortunately for us our wait was just over 2hrs and after boarding we docked some 30 minutes later at Galena Bay. The short journey across the lake is free, the scenery beautiful and we also noted a number of Gulls, mostly settled on the many floating logs which are carried up and down the lake by local logging companies. Ringed-billed, Herring and Mew were recorded, plus at one stage both Bald Eagle and Turkey Vulture came floating over, the latter dwarfing the Eagle by a mile!

Ring-Billed Gull
The 15km drive to the RV Park gave me an unexpected opportunity to take several shots of a pair of Turkey Vulture which kindly landed atop a tree right in front of us, unfortunately directly in sunlight but I managed a few decent images, one shown in my previous post. We eventually arrived at our overnight stop-off Halcyon Hotsprings after completing our longest day, 235km. Although the wildlife mostly evaded us today another breathtaking journey with stunning scenery and a chance to chill out tonight with a nice meal and some Californian wine, and for the first time since Calgary, it’s raining.

Apologies to my reader for the delayed posts, Wifi and mobile signal in this part of the mountains is thin on the ground!