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Quick 'Winter' Shuswap Trip


Aaron
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On Thursday I'll be heading out to my cabin for a few days and I get to visit my favorite child, the Wharf Road hotspot!

I usually only go there from late April/early May to August and only ever been there twice in March (2016 & 2017). I have photographic records from 2016 where I got my best ever looks at pine grosbeaks and red crossbills, but cant say I was really birding then, so I am excited to see what I can find. 

I have been trying very hard to get the species list to over 150 species, something that will be a lot easier to achieve with the addition of winter birds. The species count currently sits at 136, as someone has added TUSW, GADW, AMWIG, HOGR, and COGO to there this month. More might be added if she decides to bird there again, but I definitely plan to see those and more. My main focus will be trying to find the winter only birds (redpolls, shrikes, bohemian waxwings, etc) as I don't know if I'll ever have the opportunity to be here when those species are here again. I also have high hopes to see a ruffed grouse and maybe mountain bluebirds, but we'll see!

This area (and county) is not heavily birded, with the majority of people only adding to this hotspot due to the rare birds that I found there. So there is not a lot of available data to go off of, but it seems like I'll be arriving there on the cusp of when the winter birds will be leaving, so hopefully it is not too late.  However, I have made a list and there is a possible 49 species to see here that I have not yet added to the list, but of course probably only 1/3 of those or less I have any chance of seeing. 8 of those species I can only see between November and March and then 19 species are only here during spring/fall migration. 

Since I'm going to be there for only a few days, I am definitely going to spend every waking hour outside to ensure that I can see everything possible. I plan to go listen for owls one night as well. I won't be travelling anywhere else, but I might walk down to the provincial park to see if I can find the pair of barred owls.

I am going to fill the feeder with black oil sunflowers, put up some suet, and get the pond going to hopefully attract some interesting things. I am super excited as not only will I get to see more than 20 birds species at once again, but I will also get to finally spend time out of the house! Hopefully I will be able to get better with my camera as well.

The weather is supposed to be rather crappy, with rain/snow in the forecast for everyday we're there, but I am sure it will not last the whole day. 

Anyways, I'll post once a day with my checklist(s) of the day, hopefully they'll contain something exciting! I think if I can breach the 140 mark, I'll be able to get to 150 this year. 

Hotspot link: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L9699499

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Had a pretty good start today, though just a quick survey around and didn’t use my good camera, but had my old one as a back up.

Added Canada Jay & Common Redpolls along the highway as new county and BC birds.

Made a quick stop at the Salmon Arm Bay. Lots of ducks and some interesting raptor action. Added a few new county birds as well. Was hoping I’d see the Eurasian wigeons but guess I needed to spend more time looking. https://ebird.org/checklist/S83651794 

Also saw 4 trumpeter swans while driving along the bay after, so those were added to an incidental checklist.

Got to my Cabin and immediately there was already an American tree sparrow in my yard! I cleaned out the pond and set up the fountain and put the bird feeder up right away. Did some wandering around and on top of the tree sparrow, added greater scaup and Trumpeter swans to the species count. Also saw a horned grebe and a common goldeneye which I have not seen here before. Other than that mostly everything I expected to see, but there was one yellow-rumped warbler which felt out of place. Less ducks in the Marina than I thought, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings. The species count now sits at 139!

https://ebird.org/checklist/S83651948
Ebirds being weird though, that checklist has yet to show up anywhere. 
 

I also went to see if I could hear any owls. Managed to hear one really weird sound/call but haven’t figured out what exactly it is. Not very owlish sounding, but I’ll have to put more effort into trying to figure it out. 


 

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4 hours ago, Aaron said:


 

I also went to see if I could hear any owls. Managed to hear one really weird sound/call but haven’t figured out what exactly it is. Not very owlish sounding, but I’ll have to put more effort into trying to figure it out. 


 

Owls often don’t sound like owls 😉 

Boreal owls especially

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From yesterday:

Nothing too exciting, just more of what I’ve found so far. Did 2 checklists as I had an exam that prevented me from walking the whole route from sunrise.

First one: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83708762

Second one: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83708777

Spent a good portion of time trying to get photos of the ducks, but they were very skittish. Got a very blurry photo of a horned grebe with a fish! Waited around for swans but never found any.

I did see one pine grosbeak as I was leaving to go ride a bike, so that had to go on an incidental checklist and no photo. It called a few times and then left.  Hoping I can add them to a complete checklist. 

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Did a few checklists today, though again mostly the same things.

The first is the whole loop around in the morning. Not the best time for photos! I did manage to get some decent recordings so I will be adding those whenever I get a chance to edit them. 
Highlight was a flock of high flying northern pintails which marks 140 species! Also saw the local Merlin couple mating, finally found the red crossbills, and saw large amounts of migrating geese. https://ebird.org/checklist/S83782532

Did a quick trip to a portion of Tsutswecw Provincial park, and nothing too exciting except for 2 American dippers, one on each side of the river. 
https://ebird.org/checklist/S83782540

Also rode bikes to the campground/provincial park and didn’t  really see anything notable https://ebird.org/checklist/S83782548

And then made another checklist for Wharf road later in the day as an ECDO showed up which is the first I’ve seen this trip. The Merlin I guess went after it (I missed the attack) but looks like he survived. The pair of nuthatches were frozen against the tree for a good 10 minutes after. https://ebird.org/checklist/S83782568
 

Waited around for swans and had no luck. Rode my bike about an hour after sunset to see if I could hear any owls and no luck on that either. 
Leaving tomorrow, so I’ll get one more checklist in so hoping I can add something interesting in the morning. 

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14 hours ago, Kevin said:

Usually the checklist appears immediately at the hotspot so that I can view it and it wouldn’t appear on my profile unless I clicked into a bunch of things. All good though, it showed up eventually.  
 

Last day gave me a species count over 30, but it was pretty cold and overcast. Had a brief encounter with American wigeons, which I haven’t seen at this location yet. Though, the highlight definitely was a green morph pine Siskin! It’s a good thing that I went over to look at the flock. https://ebird.org/checklist/S83844737

Overall, it was a fun trip, and I got to add 4 new species to my hotspot and got 8 new county birds. No lifers unless that recording turns out to be a boreal owl! However, I was hoping to add at least one of the winter only birds which I did not do. I was finding new things everyday so I’m sure with more time something else would have shown up. Disappointed I only saw the swans and the grosbeaks once! I might get to go again this weekend for a similar length trip, but will have to see what my classes have in store.
 

Now back to checklists below 20 species 😪

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8 hours ago, Aaron said:

Usually the checklist appears immediately at the hotspot so that I can view it and it wouldn’t appear on my profile unless I clicked into a bunch of things. All good though, it showed up eventually.  
 

Last day gave me a species count over 30, but it was pretty cold and overcast. Had a brief encounter with American wigeons, which I haven’t seen at this location yet. Though, the highlight definitely was a green morph pine Siskin! It’s a good thing that I went over to look at the flock. https://ebird.org/checklist/S83844737

Overall, it was a fun trip, and I got to add 4 new species to my hotspot and got 8 new county birds. No lifers unless that recording turns out to be a boreal owl! However, I was hoping to add at least one of the winter only birds which I did not do. I was finding new things everyday so I’m sure with more time something else would have shown up. Disappointed I only saw the swans and the grosbeaks once! I might get to go again this weekend for a similar length trip, but will have to see what my classes have in store.
 

Now back to checklists below 20 species 😪

Do you mind sharing the recording? I bet the people here could place it. 

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