Last week a friend of mine from Robson came to Nakusp to bird with me for a couple of days. We focussed on the Edgewood area. On day 1 we explored the Inonoaklin Valley from Hwy 6 to the Edgewood campsite, including various side roads. The habitat variety along this route makes it an excellent birding location. On day 2 we birded Lower Inonoaklin Road and parts of Whatshan Lake. By the end of two days we had a list of 94 species. We did not need to see great numbers of rare species to reach this number; there are that many birds there all the time! I am invariably impressed with the birding in the Edgewood area and sometimes wonder why I don’t go there more often.
Perhaps the most unexpected bird we had was a Glaucous-winged Gull. Although this primarily coastal gull shows up in the Okanagan quite often, it is not a regular visitor to our valley. This individual was seen on the beach below the Edgewood campsite in company with Herring Gulls, California Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls. There was also a lone Trumpeter Swan on the lakeshore along Lower Inonoaklin Road. I would normally expect this species to have moved on by now. Similarly, I thought the flock of 12 Western Grebes was a little later than usual. Waterfowl are also past their peak, but we did see Canada Goose, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Hooded Merganser and Common Merganser. We had a good selection of raptors, including Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and American Kestrel. Flycatchers and warblers were also well represented. Members of the flycatcher family included Western Wood Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Western Kingbird and Eastern Kingbird. The warblers were Orange-crowned, Nashville, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Townsend’s, MacGillivray’s, Wilson’s and Common Yellowthroat.
I was particularly struck by the large number of Western Meadowlarks singing in the fields along the valley. It was actually very hard to keep track of them all since we could hear one or two singing practically all the time. But a conservative estimate on day 1 along Edgewood Road, Ferret Road, Robinson Road and Jordan Road would be 30-35 singing males. Soon, they will be joined by Bobolinks and the field will resound with the songs of meadowlarks, Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows and Common Yellowthroats! Perhaps I’ll have to visit again in early June!