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Birds recorded in British Columbia

Andy Musgrove, 18-25 July 1999

Systematic List

Sunday 18th July

I was dropped off in the morning at Norwich airport by Trudy and Tom and flew to Amsterdam, leaving about four hours later to fly to Vancouver. I had good views of Norfolk on the first leg, flying down the Yare valley and out over Breydon and Great Yarmouth. On the second flight, we flew up over Shetland which could be seen well, over Iceland in cloud and then had excellent views of Greenland. Both coasts were rocky fjord-like landscapes with ice-flows on the sea but the central plain inland appeared to be a flat snow plain all the way across. We came in over Baffin Island and then flew south-west over hundreds of miles of Tundra which was dotted with thousands of small lakes as well as some huge ones. Eventually, trees were visible and shortly afterwards, the first road. We then came over the northern edge of the prairies which were made up of huge areas of fields although a fair amount of wilderness seemed to be around too. The Rockies were then crossed and had some snow on but the Coast Mountains were much snowier. It was cloudier here but excellent views were had on the descent into Vancouver airport.

I got hassled by Vancouver customs, principally because I filled in "Business" on my entry card but didn’t list my binoculars as a business item. They searched everything, confiscated my ham sandwich and then sent me off to get a work visa. After reaching the relevant place I was then told I didn’t need a work visa. I finally got through and met Stephanie Hazlitt and Russ Weeber and chatted with them over a beer until Dick Cannings arrived on his plane from Penticton. We then drove to White Rock and had a Thai meal. Dick and I then went to Fred Cooke’s house to stay. I had a pretty early night, due to jet-lag.

I did manage to record a few birds during the day:

Northwestern Crow First seen on Vancouver airport runway, then subsequently seen commonly; perhaps c40 seen. Smallish crows and pretty unexciting.

Bald Eagle An adult flew over as I disembarked the aircraft - an exciting welcome to Vancouver!

House Sparrow Around Vancouver airport, etc.

Starling Common along roadsides.

Red-tailed Hawk One seen by the road - this species was seen widely during the week.

Hen Harrier One "Marsh Hawk" ringtail over the road near Boundary Bay.

Feral Rock Dove c5 by roadsides

Ring-billed Gull One adult by the road in White Rock.

Glaucous-winged Gull c10 seen; finally seen well outside the Thai restaurant in White Rock.

[Bewick’s Wren] Brief burst of song heard from the car (id. by others).

[Spotted Towhee] Brief burst of song heard from the car (id. by others).

9 species, 3 ticks.

Monday 19th July

I woke about 0530 and obviously had to go straight out for a walk around the neighbourhood for an hour. Relatively few birds were seen, which was a little disappointing, but then again I was in suburbia in July.

Northwestern Crow

Spotted Towhee Several heard singing (a shrill trill) and also seen well. Very similar in appearance to Rufous-sided Towhee (although the song is apparently very different).

American Robin Several - this species was common and widespread all week.

House Finch Several - also widely seen but seldom providing very good views.

Black-capped Chickadee Several - the most numerous chickadee on the coast.

Band-tailed Pigeon One calling bird was tracked down and another flew over. Not a particularly common bird (nothing like Woodpigeon is here for example).

Barn Swallow Generally the commonest swallow species.

Red-breasted Nuthatch Two were seen, located by the "toy trumpet" call. Recorded widely during the week in conifers.

Olive-sided Flycatcher One singing from the top of a tall tree. The song is supposed to be "quick three beers" although I transcribed this one as "whidup-we-weeah". The white rump sides were clearly visible.

Steller’s Jay Two on a house roof. This species was not as common as I had expected.

Song Sparrow One on Fred’s bird table.

Great Blue Heron One flew over - a widespread species.

[Chestnut-b. Chickadee] Calls pointed out by Dick.

[Pileated Woodpecker?] One probable heard.

[Brown Creeper?] Treecreeper-like calls heard but not well enough to be sure and not seen.


Grey Squirrel Very dark here but apparently S. carolinensis also.

Douglas Squirrel An attractive small squirrel.

Eastern Cottontail A rabbit which was apparently this species.

We then went off on the planned field trip. Picked up Gary Kaiser, Charles Francis and dropped off some dead birds at UBC. This was a very long, tedious drive to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay which involved having to go through the very centre of downtown Vancouver. We then had a crossing of ca 30 minutes across to the Sunshine Coast.

Glaucous-winged Gull

Red-tailed Hawk

Feral Rock Dove

Cedar Waxwing A typical roadside bird and fairly common throughout.

Canada Goose First seen by the Burrard Inlet. Common throughout, many looking pretty feral. Some in coastal situations, not something often seen in the UK.

Turkey Vulture One near Horsehoe Bay

Bald Eagle An adult perched near Horseshoe Bay and then an immature in flight from the ferry.

Violet-green Swallow After a few poor flight views, good views were had at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Widespread although not always as easy to identify as might be expected.

Pigeon Guillemot One on the water at Horseshoe Bay.

Goosander A female "Common Merganser" with two juvs at Horseshoe Bay.

Double-cr. Cormorant At least three in flight seen from the ferry (with a few more later along the Sunshine Coast).

Once on the Sunshine Coast, we visited various sites. Mission Point was the outlet of a small creek on to a sandy/rocky beach with many tourists about. Sergeant Bay was a secluded cove backed by a marsh. Half Moon Bay was a larger rocky bay with a small fishing community. Porpoise Bay was a wide fjord/inlet with some intertidal mud. Chaster Creek was a section of open coast. A few good birds were seen back at the ferry terminal also. The day was good for getting to know the other participants and also for appreciation of the area - access is usually difficult - either private gardens or inaccessible terrain. Plenty of good birds seen also.

Marbled Murrelet This was picked up on call by some of the others! The species is a major cause celebre in BC, being linked into the old growth forest / Spotted Owl debate. Millions of dollars are being poured into research on the bird. Four were seen off Mission Point, two at Sergeant Bay, two Half Moon Bay and two at Chaster Creek, all in their brown summer plumage.

California Gull Like small delicate Herring Gulls but fairly undistinguished. c15 at Mission Point, five Half Moon Bay and c10 at Porpoise Bay.

Mallard Small numbers.

Common Gull These "Mew Gulls" weren’t noticeably different to UK birds. One at Mission Point and four at Porpoise Bay.

Velvet Scoter Four "White-winged Scoters" in flight off Mission Point.

Pelagic Cormorant Three flew north past Mission Point. A small, thin-necked species, the white flank patch still present on one.

Bald Eagle Relatively common. An adult and 2 juvs near a nest at Mission Point, an immature at Sergeant Bay which landed on the beach near some sunbathers, an adult at Half Moon Bay, an adult at Porpoise Bay and an adult from the ferry on the way back.

Bonaparte’s Gull One at Sergeant Bay, 12 Half Moon Bay and 5 Porpoise Bay.

Hooded Merganser A female-type at Sergeant Bay was apparently a good find on saltwater.

Great Blue Heron One Sergeant Bay

Vaux’s Swift Three over the hills behind Sergeant Bay, two at Half Moon Bay and one at Porpoise Bay. Not a very common bird on the coast.

Common Yellowthroat One male singing "witchity-witchity" and also seen quite well at the

Sergeant Bay marsh, plus another heard there.

Song Sparrow Loud melodic song heard widely.

Rufous Hummingbird One female-type seen well perched at the back of Sergeant Bay. This was the commonest hummer and most which went unidentified were probably of this species.

Northern R-w. Swallow One at Sergeant Bay. Not many of these were identified.

Red-winged Blackbird A few around the marsh at Sergeant Bay - these were common in all wetter areas.

Swainson’s Thrush One heard singing at Sergeant Bay, a very distinctive "rising spiral staircase" song. Not seen here but one heard calling near the ferry terminal and then two young birds seen here in a bush.

Pine Siskin Two flew over at Sergeant Bay with an obviously Siskin-like call note. An apparently common bird in conifers throughout although good views were not often had.

Willow Flycatcher One seen well in the trees at the edge of the marsh at Sergeant Bay, identified on song ("fitz-bew"), habitat and lack of an eye-ring by Dick Cannings for me!

Belted Kingfisher One was rattling away at Sergeant Bay marsh.

Harlequin Duck Two in flight then visible on and off behind the rocks in Half Moon Bay - both female-types.

Black Oystercatcher One at Half Moon Bay, very typical Oystercatcher voice.

Great Northern Diver Two "Common Loons" in Half Moon Bay.

Turkey Vulture Three over trees behind Half Moon Bay.

Goosander Female and two juvs at Half Moon Bay and the same at the ferry terminal.

Western Gull An adult at Half Moon Bay was apparently a very good summer record.

Merlin A pair in tree-tops at Porpoise Bay was a surprise to me although this is apparently normal in BC.

Ring-billed Gull Two at Porpoise Bay.

Glaucous-winged Gull Common along the coast.

Winter Wren One singing at Chaster Creek, somewhat different to UK birds but easily recognisable.

Killdeer One at the ferry terminal.

Spotted Sandpiper One flushed from a ditch by the ferry terminal.

White-crowned Sparrow Good views of three around the ferry terminal car park.

[Purple Finch] Heard at Sergeant Bay but not visible.

[Western Tanager] Heard at Sergeant Bay but not visible.

[Warbling Vireo] Heard at Sergeant Bay but not visible.

[Downy Woodpecker] Heard at Sergeant Bay but not visible.

[Pacific Slope Flycatcher] One heard calling at Porpoise Bay, according to Dick.


California Sea-lion Two splashing around off Sergeant Bay

Harbour Seal One Horseshoe Bay harbour.

Pale Tiger Swallowtail Identified by Dick at Sergeant Bay - swallowtail spp were common and a few whites were also seen but butterflies were generally scarce.

Green Darner Identified by Dick - lots of other dragonflies seen.

We then drove back, via a Mexican restaurant in Vancouver. A long day!

52 species, 21 ticks.

Tuesday 20th July

I woke at 0530 and went out briefly. Just before leaving for the day, Dick found a few birds in the trees around the house.

Pine Siskin Two on the bird table.

Song Sparrow One on the bird table.

Black-headed Grosbeak One was seen at the top of a tall conifer. These were quite widespread, although many more were heard by the others than I saw.

Bewick’s Wren One was pished out and gave good close views.

Chestnut-b. Chickadee Several were heard (according to the others) but only one was seen, quite poorly.

Black-capped Chickadee 3

Spotted Towhee

Northwestern Crow

Band-tailed Pigeon 1

[Downy Woodpecker] One heard only, Dick’s identification.

We then drove to the Reifel refuge for the BC Coastal Waterbird Workshop. This first day involved talking about past surveys (including me talking about WeBS, which seemed to be well received and useful). A few birds were seen around the Canadian Wildlife Service offices. We then went around the refuge late in the afternoon. meeting John Ireland, a Yorkshireman who is now the warden there. We finished off the day with an excellent Malaysian meal in White Rock.

Brewer’s Blackbird I’d seen several unconfirmed ones over the last few days, but saw some well today on the way to the workshop and also at the refuge. Not as common as expected.

Red-winged Blackbird

Great Blue Heron c15 during the day

Cliff Swallow c10 seen, mostly around the CWS offices where they were nesting.

Barn Swallow Many nesting around the CWS offices.

Greater Yellowlegs Three flew over the CWS offices, with another seven at the refuge.

American Goldfinch A few were seen around the CWS office and the refuge. Not abundant but widespread during the week in small numbers. Flight call is more like Greenfinch than European Goldfinch.

Wood Duck Two were seen.

Bald Eagle At least one adult and one immature were seen around the CWS with more at the refuge (perhaps involving the same birds?) and by roadsides; perhaps about five during the day.

Rufous Hummingbird One seen well enough to identify at the CWS.

Caspian Tern One flew over the CWS offices.

Bushtit A small flock of at least three was seen at lunchtime near the CWS offices. Calls and behaviour similar to Long-tailed Tit.

Cedar Waxwing c20 during the day, including at least three outside the workshop room.

Black-capped Chickadee A slow, two-note "tea-cher"-type song.

Black-headed Grosbeak A female near the CWS offices.

Tree Swallow About five were seen around the Reifel refuge.

Gadwall Four at the refuge.

Green-winged Teal c10 at the refuge.

Marsh Wren At least three singing males at the refuge, one of which was seen well sat up in the marsh.

Western Sandpiper Surprisingly, only one out of five peeps appeared to be this species, with a long, fine bill and a hint of rufous colouration on the crown.

Semipalmated Sandpiper Four peeps appeared to be Semi-p’s. These are apparently not as rare over here as the National Geographic Guide would suggest. Shorter, blunter-tipped bills than the Western. No Least Sandpipers though.

Lesser Yellowlegs c15 at the refuge.

Red-necked Phalarope One on the main scrape at the refuge.

Brown-headed Cowbird c10 were seen around the refuge.

Killdeer One at the refuge.

Shoveler One male at the refuge.

Long-billed Dowitcher c15 at the refuge, giving excellent close-up views.

Savannah Sparrow One was found creeping around the edge of the main scrape.

Sandhill Crane Hmmmm!? A tame one wandering around the car park was an originally captive bird and not countable. However, two more in the refuge were also very tame but according to the warden were originally wild birds which had become tame. Not a very satisfying tick!

American Coot One at the refuge.

Pintail Two at the refuge.

Mourning Dove One on roadside wires near the refuge; not a very common bird near the coast.

Common Yellowthroat One singing male by the CWS offices.

Downy Woodpecker One seen in flight only at the refuge.


Various frogs, dragonflies and swallowtails.

51 species, 10 ticks.

Wednesday 21st July

I woke early again and walked around a bit of White Rock, this morning finding Dogwood Park.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Spotted Towhee

Northwestern Crow

Band-tailed Pigeon 3

American Robin

Glaucous-winged Gull

Steller’s Jay 1

Black-capped Chickadee

Olive-sided Flycatcher One singing again by Fred’s house, with the white back spots again very clear.

White-crowned Sparrow One male singing from the aerial of a suburban house.

Pileated Woodpecker Three were seen extremely well in Dogwood Park, allowing a very close approach. Presumably the same birds (a family party?) were seen again back near Fred’s House.

Swainson’s Thrush One in Dogwood Park, first picked up on its "liquid drop" call and then seen.

Winter Wren Two singing males.

Chestnut-b. Chickadee Better views of a group of four, although I had to lay on the ground to view them in the top of a very tall tree to avoid neck-strain!

Downy Woodpecker At least one, seen in flight only. Possibly more heard although I didn’t get very familiar with this species on this trip.

We then returned to the CWS offices at Reifel refuge. Most of the day’s discussion was on specific points relating to methods, which was again interesting.

Mourning Dove 1

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Ring-billed Gull 1

Yellow Warbler One seen near the CWS office, pished out with chickadees. Not very striking and so probably a female or juvenile.

Bald Eagle 3

Common Yellowthroat One male again.

Cliff Swallow

Cooper’s Hawk One flashed past the window of the meeting, mobbed by swallows. Although initially left as unidentified, I later counted this as being a Cooper’s really on elimation of anything else. The species is apparently common around here.

We then went off to look at a few nearby coastal sites. Roberts Bank was an area of intertidal, crossed by a long causeway providing good access. We then went on to Blackie Spit at the eastern end of Boundary Bay where a small river flowed in. Finally, we had a look along the White Rock shore of Boundary Bay, finishing off the day with a meal in a Greek restaurant of non-descript quality.

Western Sandpiper A flock of ca 40 peeps flew past at Roberts Bank. Flocks of peeps in estuarine habitats around here are apparently mostly of this species.

Grey Plover A flock of ca 100 seen in flight only from Roberts Bank.

Double-cr. Cormorant ca 30 seen, mostly on offshore buoys at Roberts Bank.

American White Pelican One a Roberts Bank, an a buoy with Double-crested Cormorants and later in flight. A twitch by the local birders!

Caspian Tern One at Roberts Bank and two at Blackie Spit.

Savannah Sparrow Two seen feeding by railway tracks at Roberts Bank with another at Blackie Spit.

Black Oystercatcher One flew past at Roberts Bank, a good record.

Bald Eagle Singles at both Roberts Bank and Blackie Spit, the latter heard only.

Hen Harrier One by the road by Boundary Bay.

Whimbrel At least eight at Blackie Spit.

Greater Yellowlegs Five at Blackie Spit

Ring-billed Gull 50 at Blackie Spit

California Gull Five at Blackie Spit

Great Blue Heron Concentration of over 100 in saltmarsh at Blackie Spit.

Killdeer Five at Blackie Spit

Belted Kingfisher Singles in flight at Blackie Spit and White Rock.

Western Grebe Three seen quite far offshore at White Rock; fairly poor views.

Surf Scoter A close male and three females, plus a few more distant scoter spp., at White Rock.

Harlequin Duck Two female-types at White Rock, poor views into the sun.

[Scaup sp.] One flew past at White Rock.

56 species, 4 ticks.

Thursday 22nd July

I woke at 0700 but still had time for a quick walk at White Rock.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Song Sparrow

American Robin

Northwestern Crow

Band-tailed Pigeon

Black-capped Chickadee

Pine Sikin

House Finch

Oregon Junco A male and two f/j in a garden, my first record of this western subspecies. Considering how common this species was in the mountains, it was surprisingly scarce on the coast.

Bushtit Very good views of three were had by pishing them in.

Pileated Woodpecker Very close views of three in one tree; extremely tame!

Chestnut-b. Chickadee Good views of one.

Steph had decided that no more workshop was necessary so Dick, Charles and I went to Cypress Park north of the city. This called for another lengthy drive through Vancouver. Cypress Park was very snowy still which was great; it was amazing to see hummingbirds zipping around in a snowy forest! Got slightly worried about bears too! Cafe owners said there were a few around.

Rufous Hummingbird One of the commonest birds with perhaps c20 noted.

Black-headed Grosbeak Good views of a male.

MacGillivray’s Warbler Lots of song and calls heard from a bird in scrub but only very poor views.

Hermit Thrush Lots heard singing and several seen well, the rufous tails very obvious.

Calliope Hummingbird A top find by Dick (I’d have overlooked it). A f/j type hummer with no red in the tail. Good long views as it sat perched on bushes and on a plastic fence.

Crossbill Lots responded to pishing, apparently the "Hemlock Crossbill" if split.

Pine Siskin Common.

Varied Thrush Several

White-crowned Sparrow 2

Townsend’s Warbler Excellent views of a pair, a top bird.

Red-breasted Sapsucker An adult and a juvenile brought in by pishing.

Red-shafted Flicker Good views of one in flight.

Orange-cr. Warbler Good views of two, although rather shabby birds.

Violet-green Swallow One around the car park.

Oregon Junco Very common.

Swainson’s Thrush One singing male heard.

Raven 1

Band-tailed Pigeon 3

American Robin


Pacific Tree Frog Heard, amongst the snowy alpine meadows!

[Bear] At least three piles of poo!

We then drove down to Lighthouse Park on a futile attempt to see Anna’s Hummingbird, although we did see a few other birds.

Chestnut-b. Chickadee Good views of a pair

Raven 1

Black-thr. Grey Warbler A female seen in Lighthouse Park, which was a very smart bird despite not being a male. This was the only one of the trip.

Western Tanager A neck-craning view of a male, which turned out to be typical for this species.

Swainson’s Thrush 2

Black-headed Grosbeak 2

We then drove off to get the hire car from the airport, via a very brief stop at Iona Island, principally for Dick to look for a Little Gull (which we didn’t see); it would have been good to have had more time here.

Bald Eagle Two over Vancouver.

Red-tailed Hawk One over Vancouver, one at Iona.

Hen Harrier One edge of Vancouver.

Lesser Scaup At least a pair.

Pied-billed Grebe 6

American Coot c10

Shoveler 2

Gadwall c20

Ruddy Duck 5

Marsh Wren Two singing males.

Western Sandpiper c30 but seen in flight only.

Rufous Hummingbird 1

Savannah Sparrow 1

[Ring-necked Duck] Probably a pair at Iona Island, or more Lesser Scaup? Poor views.

We dropped Dick off at the airport and then went in two cars back to CWS, giving Steph her van back and picking up some camping gear. Charles and I then drove through the greater Vancouver suburbs and out to Manning Park where we had a walk at dusk in the Sullamo Grove area in a futile attempt to hear Spotted Owl. I spent most of the walk terrified of a bear attack. No such luck (?) but a large dog on the path caused a momentary panic!

Harlequin Duck excellent views of a female with a downy chick below the bridge; swam virtually directly below us.

Golden-crowned Kinglet One seen well with another two singing males also heard.

Warbling Vireo One was pished out of the woods.

Swainson’s Thrush At least five singing males heard, a superb sound.

Vaux’s Swift At least five over.

American Robin

Song Sparrow

Winter Wren One singing male.

Spotted Sandpiper One heard at dusk.


Black-tailed Deer Two near park entrance (a subspecies of Mule Deer apparently).

[Bat sp.] One at dusk.

We finally pitched tents at Hampton campground at 2330, having been told by the camp fee-collector that a bear had walked through the camp two days earlier.

64 species, 10 ticks.

Friday 23rd July

Woke at 0515 and quickly packed up the gear and drove up the Alpine Meadows road. Did some birding on the way up including a stop at the Cascade Lookout. The Road was closed part of the way up so we walked the last 3-4 miles to the top and back; there was a little snow at the top of the track but it wasn’t really necessary to have the road closed. Birds were mostly quiet higher up but birding was better lower down and a good selection of mammals and some nice alpine flowers were seen, the latter in areas of snow-melt at the top.

Winter Wren One singing at Hampton campsite.

Swainson’s Thrush One heard calling at Hampton.

Raven One by main road and two higher up.

Hermit Thrush Several seen and heard higher up.

American Robin All elevations.

Blue Grouse Excellent views of a male by the roadside and watched well even when we’d got out of the car. I stupidly forgot to photograph it, which would have been easy!

Townsend’s Solitaire One was seen on top of a conifer and in flight; a distinctive call, like a smoke detector battery going flat.

"Audubon’s" Warbler At least three seen, my first of this western race. Males were particularly stunning.

Townsend’s Warbler Three superb singing males.

Oregon Junco Very common.

Mountain Chickadee Good views of several, the common chickadee here. The white brow was not always all that obvious.

American Kestrel One, chased by a hummingbird.

Three-toed Woodpecker Pair seen on dead trees. Not brilliant views but a good bird to get.

Hairy Woodpecker 1

Northern Flicker Four together on a dead tree (family presumably).

Clark’s Nutcracker At least six, mostly seen around the lookout. Later, when more people present, on the scrounge for scraps.

Goshawk Excellent views of a male flying towards us down the track, mobbed by Clark’s Nutcrackers; an uncommonly seen bird here.

Varied Thrush Heard singing.

Crossbill Several.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Pine Siskin

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Red-tailed Hawk

Grey Jay Only one was seen, which seemed surprising. Quite a cute little corvid.

Chipping Sparrow Two seen by the track high up the hill.

Fox Sparrow At least three at the Paintbrush trail at the top; a good find in the breeding season. A big and distinctive sparrow.

[Hummingbird sp.] Three flew past too quickly to identify thougb presumably Rufous or Calliope.


Snowshoe Hare One at Hampton campsite.

Yellow-bellied Marmot One quite low down the mountain on road-side scree.

Hoary Marmot Three at the top; big and very tame.

Columbian Gr. Squirrel Open areas including down in the valley by the hotel and at Lightening Lake.

Yellow Pine Chipmunk Particularly tame at the Cascade lookout; possible split to Northwestern Chipmunk!

Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

At least one at the lookout; apparently endangered by the spread of the Columbian Ground Squirrel.

"Red" Squirrel Not the same species as ours. Common and noisy and makes bird-like trills.

Pika Cute little rabbit-like beasties with smaller ears.

We eventually got back to our car, had some food and went down to the valley bottom, checking out "20-Minute Lake", Lightning Lake and the Beaver Pond. Mosquitoes were a problem at the latter.

Red-naped Sapsucker One coming to a juvenile in a nest at a pull-in near the Similkameen river.

Barrow’s Goldeneye Not easy, although it helped when Dick later told us that only Barrow’s was present here. Four female-types were on 20-Minute Lake, two females and five young juvs at Lightning Lake and a female and one juvenile at the Beaver Pond.

Yellow-rumped Warbler 20-Minute Lake and the Beaver Pond.

Golden-crowned Kinglet 20-Minute Lake and Lightning Lake.

Clark’s Nutcracker Two at 20-Minute Lake, four by Lightning Lake.

Great Northern Diver Two adults on Lightning Lake.

Townsend’s Warbler Lightning Lake.

Song Sparrow Several at the Beaver Pond but no sign of Lincoln’s Sparrow as Dick had suggested.

MacGillivray’s Warbler Good views of a male at Beaver Pond, making up for the poor views yesterday. White semi-eye-ring seen well. Tacking in response to pishing and Pygmy Owl hoots.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet A pair seen well at the Beaver Pond, the only ones of the trip.

Sharp-shinned Hawk One male came in to pishing at the Beaver Pond and quickly left again.

Western Pewee One was scoped up as it fly-catched from a perch in the Beaver Pond. Dull in a fairly distinctive sort of way!

Belted Kingfisher One at the Beaver Pond was the first I’d seen well on this trip.

Pine Siskin Beaver Pond.

Eventually, we set off to the Okanagan Valley. Because we were a little later than planned, we went straight to Penticton although we did have a few good birds on the way.

Red-tailed Hawk 2


American Crow Crows seen east of Manning were assumed to be this species; they did seem larger than those on the coast, honest!

Lewis’s Woodpecker Three by the road near Hedley; ace birds having a classy mix of black, red and green.

Brewer’s Blackbird Two near Hedley, two Penticton.

Western Pewee Two near Hedley.

Eastern Kingbird One on wires and one after Keremeos, the white tail-tips very obvious.

Red-winged Blackbird A pair near Hedley.

Cedar Waxwing

American Kestrel Male near Hedley, one near Naramata.

Western Kingbird Two adults and two juvs on wires after passing Keremeos, plus one near Penticton.

Bullock’s Oriole A female was seen flying over the road after Keremeos.

California Quail A male was seen by the roadside after Keremeos.

Violet-green Swallow

Barrow’s Goldeneye Three eclipse males, three females and two downy juvs at Yellow Lake.

Common Nighthawk Three flew over Yellow Lake in the late afternoon and then at least 20 were seen over Penticton town centre, an amazing sight given that it was fully light and the birds were obviously not migrating.

Turkey Vulture One over Penticton.

Ring-billed Gull c50 at Skaha Lake in Penticton.

We finally arrived at Dick Cannings’ house at Naramata, with his garden backing onto a wooded ravine. We had some excellent barbecued salmon, did some back garden birding and then went out in his truck up the KVR, an old railway bed in the hills behind Naramata.

Cassin’s Finch Two males and a female in Dick’s garden, although not brilliant views.

Pygmy Nuthatch One flying between the tree-tops in the garden but poor views.

Vaux’s Swift Several over the garden.

Swainson’s Thrush One calling by the garden.

California Quail About 20 flew past the house and three by the road later.

Crossbill Two over.

Red-naped Sapsucker One in the garden.

Common Poorwill One at dusk on the KVR in the headlights. Excellent views before it flew off. Dick then whistled it back and it came and landed in front of us and displayed, gurgling quietly! The small size and the white throat were distinctive. One of the best moments of the trip.

Common Nighthawk c10 along the KVR

Townsend’s Solitaire One heard calling and one singing (although this unmemorable) along the KVR.

[Hummingbird sp.] At least one briefly at the garden feeder.

[Pacific Slope Flycatcher] Heard only from garden.

[Evening Grosbeak] Heard only from garden.

[Rock Wren] Heard only singing from cliffs by the KVR.

[White-throated Swift] Heard calling from roost holes on cliffs by the KVR.


Raccoon An adult and juvenile in a tree behind their garden.

Mule Deer One by the KVR after dark.

58 species, 19 ticks.

Saturday 24th July

Next morning had yet another early start at 0530. Saw a few birds in Dick’s garden first before leaving to drive down to Vaseux Lake.

Cassin’s Finch Better views of a male.

California Quail Five on and around the bird table.

Evening Grosbeak A female and a juvenile around the bird table.

Rufous Hummingbird A female at the feeder.

Red-tailed Hawk One over.

American Goldfinch 1

Swainson’s Thrush One heard.

Magpie A flock of 20 flew over in Penticton.

Red-shafted Flicker One over the road.

Western Kingbird One by the road.

Brewer’s Blackbird One by the road.

Great Blue Heron One over road.

[Hummingbird sp.] Several seen too briefly to identify.

We stopped in the car park at the north end of Vaseux Lake and had a quick wander here, before getting into Dick’s truck and going off for a superb three hours of birding along the Irrigation Creek Road through the hills east of Vaseux Lake. A little rushed (Dick had to get back home) but great birding nonetheless.

Yellow Warbler Male at Vaseux Lake.

Black-ch. Hummingbird Excellent views of a male still in full plumage in the car park at Vaseux Lake.

Spotted Towhee Not seen on the previous day in the hills.

Bullock’s Oriole Two female/juvs at Vaseux Lake and a male seen in the hills later.

Swainson’s Thrush One singing male Vaseux Lake; apparently a migrant since they move down from the hills at this time of year.

Grey Catbird c10 at Vaseux Lake, noisy and conspicuous.

American Goldfinch

Willow Flycatcher Vaseux Lake; distinctive "fitz-bew" call.

Eastern Kingbird

Marsh Wren One singing male Vaseux Lake.

Song Sparrow

Cedar Waxwing c5 Vaseux Lake.

Lazuli Bunting One singing bird eventually located by the cliffs above the lake and one more later also.

Chukar At least five were wandering about on the cliffs above the lake; a top attraction for Canadian birders apparently!

Western Meadowlark We flushed c20 from one small area of sagebrush but no others during the morning trip.

Lewis’s Woodpecker At least three around the Vaseux Lake hills.

Vesper Sparrow One was pointed out to me perched on a fence by a weedy field; not a striking bird! White outertail.

Chipping Sparrow Common in one weedy field.

Mourning Dove c20 in one weedy field.

Red-breasted Nuthatch


Hairy Woodpecker Family party of three seen.

Western Tanager One female.

Dusky Flycatcher An Empidonax identified mostly on call by Dick; two were seen.

White-breasted Nuthatch 1

Northern Pygmy Owl At one stop, Dick’s Pygmy Owl impression, which we used frequently to attract passerines, produced a response from a Pygmy Owl. We moved towards it and it flew the last bit of the way. Particularly tiny but still owl-like in flight. It perched in the top of a very tall tree and called down to us for ages. Heavily mobbed, particularly by Red-breasted Nuthatches. My 900th bird for the world!

White-throated Swift Two over, then five later, then c20 well around the cliffs above the lake when we returned there later.

Cassin’s Vireo It took a long time to track down a calling bird to a sighting and then another male was seen with it, followed by another heard by the cliffs later. A recent split of Solitary Vireo produced this species plus Blue-headed and Plumbeous Vireos.

Mountain Chickadee

Red-shafted Flicker

Golden Eagle Excellent views of one soaring overhead though disparaged somewhat by Dick as a trash bird!

Grey Flycatcher One; another Dick-identified Empidonax!

Pygmy Nuthatch Excellent views of a family party of at least four. Very satisfying after yesterday’s poor views and making it a three Nuthatch day!

House Wren Good views of one.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Raven 2

Common Nighthawk Two over in broad daylight.

Western Bluebird One male seen from the van in flight only, whilst descending from the hills.

Lark Sparrow Five seen, eventually giving good views.

Mountain Bluebird A fine male sat by the road whilst descending from the hills.

Red-necked Grebe An adult and two juveniles on Vaseux Lake.

Pied-billed Grebe One Vaseux Lake.

[Canyon Wren] One or two singing males heard around the cliffs above Vaseux Lake but could not, despite much trying, be seen. The song was a distinctive descending series of drawn-out whistles.

[Rock Wren] Also heard above Vaseux Lake from the cliffs, but song/call not memorable.

[Veery] At least one apparently singing at Vaseux Lake but not clear to me which it was and not seen.


Bighorn Sheep At least 12 females and juvs under the cliffs at Vaseux Lake.

Dick then left us. After a failed attempt to clap eyes on Rock and Canyon Wrens we drove onto the Road 22 / Black Sage Road area, which was somewhat disappointing although we did have some lunch and buy some excellent cherries and peaches nearby.

Sand Martin Good views of several.

Bobolink At least two males, one female and a juvenile in marshes adjacent to Black Sage Road, the males in mostly full plumage.

Bullock’s Oriole One female/juvenile.

Red-winged Blackbird Lots around the marshes; Charles saw two f/j Yellow-headed Blackbirds but I dipped. We also dipped on Say’s Phoebe here with none around the old barns.

Eastern Kingbird Several.

Cedar Waxwing

Common Yellowthroat

Black-capped Chickadee 4

Osprey One over.

Wood Duck 15; the eclipse males look rather odd.

American Coot 2

Tree Swallow 1

Hooded Merganser One female or juvenile.

Belted Kingfisher 1

Lark Sparrow Two along Black Sage Road.


White-tailed Deer

We then drove on to the border area of Chopaka / Nighthawk USA, a well known site for Sage Thrasher and Brewer’s Sparrow, both of which we missed. It was very windy here and a really impressive place with a superb smell of sage but relatively few birds.

Bald Eagle One adult along the Osooyos to Chopaka road, fishing at a small lake.

Western Bluebird One female on wires.

Magpie 1

Vesper Sparrow 5

Western Meadowlark One was flushed.

Common Nighthawk One over and one, probably different, was flushed.

Lewis’s Woodpecker 2

Western Kingbird 1

After this fairly poor showing, we drove off towards Manning. Dick had given us two stake-outs for Williamson’s Sapsucker near Princeton. The first, August Lake, was reached by driving through Princeton Golf Course and up the road for about four km to a superb lake in a meadow surrounded by wooded hills. Birded in the woods but with a slight bear worry!

Barrow’s Goldeneye c5

Ruddy Duck c5

Blue-winged Teal Three female-types.

American Coot c15

Lesser Scaup 2

Pied-billed Grebe 1

Raven Two calling incessantly, one of which was doing a very believable Pygmy Owl impression.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Mountain Chickadee

Chipping Sparrow

Oregon Junco

Western Pewee

Pine Siskin Flock of c100.

Pygmy Nuthatch 1

Western Tanager Pair.

Red-tailed Hawk 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet


Muskrat One at the lake.

After drawing a blank here we drove into Princeton, bought some bread and then drove nine km along Copper Mountain Road. We also failed to find the sapsucker here but found a good selection of birds around a small lake.

Western Pewee 1

Song Sparrow

Barn Swallow

Cliff Swallow 1

Violet-green Swallow

N. Rough-w. Swallow c5

Ruddy Duck Three and five juveniles.

American Wigeon 1

Barrow’s Goldeneye 1

Lesser Scaup Two females and five juveniles. The females were initially thought to be Greater Scaup on their rather rounded head-shape but Greaters breed much further north so presumably Lessers.

American Coot 5

Eastern Kingbird 2

Ring-necked Duck One female.

Pied-billed Grebe 1

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Blue-winged Teal One female flew in.

[Cinnamon Teal] A female duck seen briefly but swam into lakeside vegetation and didn’t re- emerge. Looked rather richly coloured, but is an upland lake really a likely habitat? Left as one that got away.

After this, got a hot sandwich from a take-away and drove back to Manning, camping again at the Hampton campsite.

86 species, 13 ticks.

Sunday 25th July

It was cold on waking and even colder up at the Cascade Lookout where we spent an hour or two along the main track.

Raven 8

Clark’s Nutcracker 6

Grey Jay Two on the way up to the lookout.

Townsend’s Solitaire One flew over the road on the way up to the lookout.

Golden-crowned Kinglet 2

Mountain Chickadee 3

Hermit Thrush 3

Red-shafted Flicker 2

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Red-naped Sapsucker 1

Oregon Junco 2


Mule Deer One male.

We then drove back down to do the Beaver Pond again, which was not so productive as hoped and there were also lots of mozzies again. Also no Lincoln’s Sparrow again.

Red-tailed Hawk One sat on a stump in the middle of the pond.

Red-naped Sapsucker 1

Violet-green Swallow

Common Yellowthroat Good views of a male.

Song Sparrow

Mallard 2

Barrow’s Goldeneye A female and juvenile again.

Pine Siskin

Barn Swallow


Three-toed Woodpecker Neck-craning views of a pair by the edge of the pond.

Winter Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Chestnut-b. Chickadee Close views of three.

We then tried the "Monuments" trail and walked about a km towards some meadow (I forget the name). Good birding but mozzies bad and bear-shit on the path again!

N. Rough-w. Swallow 1

Towsend’s Warbler 6

Harlequin Duck A female photographed by the bridge.

Western Pewee 1

Swainson’s Thrush

Varied Thrush One heard and then seen well but briefly.

Hermit Thrush

Grey Jay 1

Wilson’s Warbler One or two males seen in a bushy area along the trail; tiny and very active.

We then left for Vancouver with a few brief stops and a quick walk up to Bridal Veil Falls (nothing much here). A tedious drive through the streets of "Greater Vancouver" back to White Rock.

Hairy Woodpecker One by the road in Manning on a fruitless stop for American Dippers.

Bonaparte’s Gull One adult flying downstream along the Fraser Valley near Hope.

Turkey Vulture 8

Red-tailed Hawk 3

Bald Eagle One in the Vancouver suburbs.

Pileated Woodpecker Two over the road near Abbotsford.

[Crow sp.] One near Hope by the road looked big enough to be American?


Black Bear One lumbered across the road in Manning. We U-turned and went back and got some photos. Not a huge bear but an excellent end to the week!

Had a quick shower at White Rock and re-packed and I then left Charles there and took the car back to the airport. After a few hours sat around in the airport we were off back to Amstersdam, even more sitting about and then finally back to Norwich by Monday afternoon.

43 species, 1 tick.