Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Halcyon to Mirror Lake

Rufous Hummingbird at Mirror Lake
After breakfast alfresco at Halcyon we set off in glorious sunshine for Nakusp, our next fuel and provisions stop. Like the UK fuel has risen here exponentially, during our 2 months in Vancouver last year regular was 85Cents a litre, today we paid $1.35 and the fill up this time was in excess of $200.

A slight change to our planned route we decided to keep heading south towards the US border and take in some of the local parks and lakes. We took highway 31A a back route which skirts both Goat Range Park and Valhalla Park, eventually ending at Kaslo and the large Kootenay Lake. The scenery was once again breathtaking with a variety of small marshes, and due to the snow melt fast running streams gave us numerous opportunities to stop off and scan for wildlife.

Lots of Butterflies on the wing once again enjoying the warm spring sunshine and at one stop a Belted Kingfisher and Spotted Sandpiper were also recorded. Siskin were plentiful high in the Pine, and Raven is a constant companion forever cronking away high up in the mountains. Two Raptors today with Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk and our first Stella’s Jay of the tour, when one flew across the road in front of us.

Our First Coyote of This Trip!
Finally our first Coyote, when we found one searching a marshy area and flushing a large flock of Finches, unfortunately too distant for any positive ID. We watched him for a short while skirting the perimeter of the marsh before he disappeared empty-handed into the brush.

Some of the lakes here are still 80% frozen but a definite thaw is in progress and in the unfrozen areas Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Bufflehead could be found. Cliff Swallows are numerous, nesting in the rocky outcrops and during lunch we managed to pick out 2 American Dipper which kept flying low over the fast running water. Mule deer were also seen on one occasion but sadly despite terrific habitat in this area our search for Moose is still ongoing.

We arrived mid afternoon on the outskirts of Kaslo and found an overnight stop at the Mirror Lake Campground. A lovely spot which overlooks the Lake and which has an interesting reed bed at the top end, which begs investigation! An afternoon walk finally gave Dee the opportunity to enjoy her first decent look at Hummingbirds when we located at least 3 Rufous, buzzing around and looking stunning in the bright sunlight, mesmerising birds to watch!

A walk down to the reed bed mid afternoon produced a selection of waterfowl which included the usual Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Hooded Merganser and on this occasion our first Green-winged Teal and lone male Northern Shoveler. Also seen were Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch and Muskrat, when one swam across the lake. To end the day Dee managed to pick out a hunting Osprey over the lake which we watched for a short while before he made off!