Monday, May 07, 2012

Radium to Golden

Western Meadowlark
As we were leaving Radium this morning on highway 95 we noticed a small group of individuals with binoculars and scopes near the rivers edge, and so of course decided to investigate.

We met up with a small group of local birders who immediately put us onto a nesting Great Horned Owl with a single chick. A real bonus we managed great scope views of the birds, which had nested high in the sand bank on the opposite side of the river. During our short stay we further managed Barn, Bank, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged Swallow.

Osprey on the Columbia River
The drive from Radium to Golden is one of my favourites on the tour. Just over 100kms through the Columbian Wetlands with stunning scenery, beautiful lagoons and always in the company of the Columbia River and Canadian Pacific Railway. There are plenty of areas on route to explore and Dee and I spent most of the morning investigating.

More Mountain Bluebird and Ospreys were plentiful including nesting birds, which come back year after year to make use of the various nesting poles. A good selection of Butterflies once again and we’re now beginning to come across various Dragonflies, something else that will give me endless hours of ID bliss.
Bald Eagle, Merlin, American Kestrel, Coopers Hawk and the huge Turkey Vulture made for yet another raptor-fest.

Belted Kingfisher
Lunch was spent overlooking the wetlands and during our stop a trio of Belted Kingfisher were constantly bickering just below, along with several nesting Bank swallows. Just slightly out from our location was a summer plumage Red-necked Grebe. The lagoons naturally provide great habitat for waterfowl and a good selection were located: American Coot, Ring-necked Duck, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Barrow’s and Common Goldeneye. During one stop to check out a smaller lagoon, a Mousse could be heard calling not far from our location, but unfortunately we were unable to obtain any decent views.

The Handsome Turkey Vulture
Tonight’s stay in Golden was at the Eco-Adventure Ranch, a site we discovered during our 2010 trip. Four Hundred acre’s of natural beauty which nestles at the side of the Columbia River and is surrounded by high snow-capped mountains. We practically had the whole site to ourselves this evening, being only one of three RV’s.

An evening walk around the site and along the river had of note Northern Flicker, White-crowned Sparrow, Winter Wren and topped off with stunning views of Osprey fishing. Sadly no Black Bears this year, only recently emerging from hibernation it’s unlikely that we’ll encounter any at the lower levels just yet.

Golden-mantled Squirrel
Before departure to Revelstoke this morning (Tuesday), another walk around the Eco-ranch while Dee had lay in. I knew immediately as I emerged from the RV that I had another addition to the birding list. The wonderful song of the Western Meadowlark is unmistakable; it was just a case of finding him. In fact it didn't take long when I found him on the meadow happily singing away! Also of note on my early morning walk were Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler and a stunning little Golden-mantled Squirrel.