Monday, March 23, 2009

Drive to Manning and beyond.......

First I guess I had better apologize to all of you have let me know how much you enjoy checking this site each day to see what has been posted. As you will all have noticed, nothing has been posted for a couple of days. Weekends tend to busy for us, either catching up on chores, or going somewhere to get more pictures......

As we live so close to Manning Park, and as it has so much to offer, we often pack a lunch and head there for the day. We try to make at least one trip up there during the winter, but this past winter there just hasn't been a suitable time, so it wasn't until yesterday, that we made the attempt.

As a birding trip, I'm afraid it was a bit of a bust!

We stopped in Hope for gas and coffee and then headed to the Hope Princeton highway (#3). Travelling through Sunshine Valley we noticed lots of Robins - a definite sign that spring was on it's way. This photo shows the Skagit river as it runs along beside the highway. As you can see the river was open and flowing with very little snow in the bushes. Pussywillows were in bloom. We kept our eyes open for any sort of bird life along the highway and with the exception of something very large and white that we spotted right at the works yard at Alison Pass and lost sight of in the trees, we didn't see a single solitary bird.

We headed to the day use area at Lightning Lakes. As mentioned earlier, we normally make this winter trip in winter - usually in February, and we are used to finding a full parking lot with people travelling about on cross country skis or snowshoes and the trees full of Gray Jays, Clark's Nutcrackers and Crows, all begging for hand outs. This year we got to the parking lot and there was nothing but this bus which was stuck and one other car besides ours and not a bird to be found!
The bus was still stuck when we left. Staff from the Manning Park lodge had arrived and were there assisting. We walked around the area a bit. It was cloudy and 2 degrees. From there we drove up to the ski area where there were quite a few people but again, no birds. Stopped at Strawberry Flats and we did finally spot one Gray Jay. A cross country skier was admiring our car and we started talking and he said the birds were all out along the trails where the people were. We could hear a Pileated Woodpecker drumming off in the forest but that was it.
At this point it isn't quite lunch time yet and the trip was a bit of a downer, so we decided to continue on in an eastward direction. Got to Princeton and continued heading east to the rest area at Bromley Rock.

This is the picnic area at Bromley Rock rest area. As you can see, it was snow free and the river was virtually ice free. Although cloudy, it was a mild 7 c degrees. There is a small campground in this location as well, situated along the river and according to the website, it is set to open April 1st, so there will definitely be no problem with that.

A closer view of the 'rock' that gives this location it's name. We ate our lunch here and then turned back towards Princeton. Anyone who knows us would know that simply going back the same way we came isn't our way, so when we got to Princeton we turned north and headed up the old highway towards Merritt. The weather improved as we headed northwards, with less cloud and more blue sky appearing.

Areas of water alongside the highway that had any movement at all were open and flowing, only some of the lakes were still frozen. This area had Canada Geese, these Hooded Mergansers, and a pair of Barrow's Goldeneye.

Another open area of water and very little snow along the highway. We proceeded northwards to one of our favorite campgrounds, at least in the 'off' season - Kentucky Allyene.

This is a portion of the campground on Allyene Lake. Unfortunately I didn't get over to Kentucky Lake this trip. Our car was parked at the side of the road that runs through the campground and since I had all my camera equipment in the car, I didn't want to chance letting the vehicle out of our sight. As you can see, another few days of mild temperatures and the campground would be snow free. The lake, although still frozen look's 'rotten' so it doesn't look like it will be too long before the ice is off the lake. We spent a very enjoyable Easter here a few years ago, parked on the shores of Kentucky Lake, which was frozen when we first arrived, but ice free when we left. I had never witnessed the ice coming off a lake before and didn't realize how quickly it happens. One day it is frozen, the next it isn't.

While my husband was off exploring with the dog, I heard a woodpecker working on a tree and finally located this 3 Toed Woodpecker working over a huge big pine tree. Of course the bird had to stay on the shady side of the tree, way up over my head, so I was standing on a slope of slippery pine needles, looking straight up which is why this is the best of the dozen or so pictures I attempted.

By this time it is getting on, so we hit the road once again and were quickly on the Connector and heading towards Merritt.

I took this photo just because I thought the way the snow was laying on the hills looked neat. Stopped in Merritt for top up of gas and coffee and then headed for the Coquilla and home. It was a sunny 10 c degrees in Merritt.

1 comment:

  1. At least you got a Grey Jay for our list! :)