Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spring Trip 2010 - Day 3 - Kettle River Provincial Park

Saturday, the 24th day of April we left our relatives and headed back down the Okanagan Highway to the town of Osoyoo's where we topped up the fuel tank before turning eastward. The first obstacle to be encountered was the very long, winding, steep 'Anarchist hill'. This was a hill I dreaded when we had the truck/trailer combination.....I swear I held my breath every trip until we were safely at the top. No such fears now as the 3500 sailed up it, causing my dear husband to remark 'I love this truck!'

Part way up we stopped at the look out - something we'd have never dared do with the old truck as we needed the momentum....
I attempted a series of panorama shots. This one is looking southwards towards the B.C./U.S.A. border. That is Osoyoos Lake down there.

now we are looking pretty much westward, part of the town of Osoyoos down there and the coast mountains in the background.

This is looking northwest, the green spit of land on the left of the picture is Greenpoint Provincial Park - a campsite we have never actually stayed at....the narrow strip of land across the lake is the highway we have just come across and that is, of course, the town of Osoysoos down there, bisecting the lake. This area is one of the hottest and driest in British Columbia.

This final shot i took to try and give an idea of the winding road that we had negotiated so far....this is only part way up...perhaps a third negotiated with two thirds to come.... Once the top is reached, you are now in 'Boundary Country' - one of my favorite areas of the province, the 'boundary' or happy medium between the sagebrush country of the Okanagan and the mountainous terrain of the Kootneys.
Our goal today was to Kettle River Provincial Park, which is just north of the town of Rock Creek.

We arrived about noon, and despite the fact that the campground wasn't 'officially open' ie. no water but therefore no fees......it was actually quite busy. Our favorite site was occupied but we found one close by. You can see from the vegetation that spring was barely started at this elevation. This is one of our favorite campgrounds, the park contains a number of eco systems so attracts a wide range of birds....

Here is a look at the river itself. This area was just behind our site...there is a path that runs all along the side of the river. The Kettle River, which is quite wide and 'tame' is a favorite for floating down on tubes or other inflatables. Something we have yet to try.

The Columbian Ground Squirrels were awake and active, and didn't sound at all happy to have their little bit of paradise invaded once again.

It took only moments for Shantz to find the second ball of the trip (she'd found one at Vaseux Lake). We don't know how she does it. It is a rare campsite that she doesn't come up with a ball of some description. This one was really special, it was soft and it squeaked ~ a real treasure! IF we went to a pet store and bought her one it would be ignored....only found balls are of interest.

I put this picture in because we were amazed to see these little flowers. I am sure they are Chinadoxis (sp.?), an early spring bulb that we grow in our gardens. As far as I know they are not native. These must have somehow grown from seed from somewhere???? There were only these few in one small patch...

The Yellow-rump Warblers were there, in vast numbers! I imagine some of them were still 'en route' while others would stay and nest. This is a male, with the yellow on the throat is of the Audubon variety which is what we expect to see on the west side of the Rockies....ones we will see later, on the east side, will be 'Myrtles' with white under the bill.

The wild rose bushes were just starting to leaf out and I guess they newly emerged leaf buds were sticky and had attracted little bugs, because the birds were sure going over them....here a Black Cap Chickadee......

had to throw in another picture of the antics the Chickadees were going through......

and Nashville Warblers! Saw a number of these guys.....

This is probably the best picture of a Nashville Warbler I've managed so far. You can almost see the bit of red on the top of the head.......

there were a pair of Song Sparrows in the same general area as the Warblers, so threw this picture in.
We will be doing more birding in this area tomorrow but I'll throw in the list of what we saw this day for anyone who might be interested.

Bird List: Ruffed Grouse (could hear several 'drumming'); Robins; Red Breasted Nuthatch - lots; Mountain Chickadees (could hear them calling); Violet Green Swallows - 8; Yellow-rump Warblers - at least 14; Ruby crowned Kinglets - 3; Black Cap Chickadee - 5; Canada Geese - 2 - that made enough noise for a dozen as they constantly flew up and down the river; Northern Flicker (Red Shaft) - 1; Common Merganser - 1 pair on the river; Sharp Shin Hawk -1; Raven - 2; Nashville Warbler - 2; Song Sparrow - 2; Dark Eyed Junco (Oregon) - 4; Wood Duck - a pair on the river which surprised me as it didn't seem the sort of place I'd expect Wood Ducks to be; Red Naped Sapsucker - 1; Pileated Woodpecker - 1; Hooded Merganser - 2.

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