May 14 - 20, 2004


Hi Everybody,
I don't know about other times of the year, but the Kelowna region in May is fabulous for birding. There were birds everywhere. My only regrets were not having more time for birding and not having a 600mm lens with a 1.4X extender. (Anyone got $12,000 to spare?) I needed the 600 mm lens and extender for the Avocet so I'm apologizing in advance for the poor quality, but sometimes a poor picture is better than none. Overall, I'm thoroughly pleased with my first Okanagan birding experience. If I ever get there again, I'm going to leave the clubs at home and bring a few extra compactflash discs.


The American Avocet is a truly gorgeous and remarkable bird. Unfortunately, its chosen habitat of Alki Lake is destined to be eradicated by the town's landfill.

I saw 2 Avocets at Alki Lake, a far cry from the 40 birds that were recorded only a few years ago.

Mountain Bluebirds - Mountain and Western Bluebirds seemed to be everywhere suggesting that the nesting boxes on fence posts is a successful program. Thanks to Chris Charlesworth for suggesting Beaver Lake Road where the Mountain Bluebird and Vesper Sparrow shots were taken.

Nest boxes also decorated the fence posts around Fairview Mountain (Oliver) where Western Bluebirds were a common sight.

Vesper Sparrows were another common species on Beaver Lake Road.

Spotted Sandpiper were fairly common but never more than 1 or 2 in the same place. This one was at Maude Roxby.

Western Kingbirds such as this one at Fairview Mountain were widespread from Vernon to Oliver.

Size 20 feet - Everything about the American Coot seemed hilarious from its grunts and snorts to its size 20 feet.

The Ruddy Ducks at the Bear Golf Course were a curious lot. They always came over to see my digital camera but always kept their distance.


A colony of Northern Rough-winged Swallows was a surprise find as I took the lakeshore route back to Kelowna from the Gray Monk Winery. The larger cavities are probably Kingfisher nesting sites while the smaller ones are swallow sites.

The Gadwall was another bird that seemed only to occur in pairs like this one at Predator Ridge.

There seemed to be pheasants everywhere on Commonage Road just before sunset.

I just flipped a coin to see whether this scaup from Predator Ridge is Greater or Lesser. Heads - it's Greater. (I was wrong again - I've been informed that it's a Lesser.)

A small pond on the Quail Course provided a close shot of the female Redhead.

The male Redhead at the Bear Course didn't trust me at all. The camera does look dangerous.

The Yellow-headed Blackbirds were one of my favorite birds on the trip. They squawked a lot but like little kids, they enjoyed having their picture taken.

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