Friday, January 14, 2011

Mahood Lake – Sept.1, 2010 continued…

I thought there was something wrong….I knew I’d taken more pictures…they were lurking in the September 2nd folder….

Late Sum. trip 2010 061

so in random order…here are a few more….this is the road in the campground and if you look closely, there is a rainbow over the lake…an evening shower created that…

Late Sum. trip 2010 052

Townsend’s Warbler were another species seen there and since they are one of the harder birds to get pictures of…I’m rather pleased with this one…

Late Sum. trip 2010 053

and this one.

Late Sum. trip 2010 049

a lot of robins there as well…kind of scruffy looking!

Late Sum. trip 2010 067

and another Warbling Vireo…

Late Sum. trip 2010 074

and I’m putting this in because I am always very pleased when I come upon a park that recognizes that dogs have a right to be there too.  I have no problem in segregating them from picnic and play areas, but places that ban them outright get my ire up! 

Mahood Lake – Well’s Gray P.P. – Sept. 1, 2010

In real time it is almost the middle of January and we are in the middle of a stretch of very wet, depressing weather…time to go back…

SLR 109

September 1st found at  North Thompson P.P. just outside of Clearwater, B.C.  Went for a morning walk along the riverside trail…

SLR 107

had hoped to get a few good bird pictures, but failed miserably on all accounts!  I did throw this one in of a male American Redstart – just because Redstarts have been a rather elusive bird for me – remember we did see some at Writing on Stone in Alberta, back in the spring.

So, once again on the road, down highway #24 to Little Fort and then turning west up the very long, steep climb to the Cariboo Plateau.

SLR 110

Here is a picture taken from the rest area when you finally reach the top and it levels out.  Our destination for the day was the campground at Mahood Lake.  Mahood Lake is situated on the western side of Well’s Gray P.P. but you can’t access it, at least by vehicle, from the main body of the park…we took the turn off at Bridge Lake – after having done this route I would NOT recommend it for anyone towing anything very large or with any sort of very large motor home….65 km of rather rough, narrow, gravel and in some areas ‘dirt’ road….

Late Sum. trip 2010 046

this is a sample of the road…one of the better sections!

Late Sum. trip 2010 045

We stopped here at Drewey Lake recreation site for lunch….

Late Sum. trip 2010 047

there was a good size lake here…no doubt good fishing….

SLR 116

Finally, about 2 pm we reached our destination – this lovely little campground was virtually deserted!

SLR 118

picked a spot out in the open – after a couple of days of dark and rain, the sunshine was welcome!

SLR 126

There were plenty of birds to keep me amused.  Cedar Waxwings were very busy eating these Hawthorne berries…

SLR 128

Young ones as well…

SLR 140

Spent a lot of time trying to capture these ‘berry in beak’ pictures…

SLR 142

So you get another as well…

SLR 134

Waxwings weren’t the only birds…here a Ruby Crowned Kinglet…

SLR 143

Yellow rump Warbler….

SLR 149

Clay-coloured Sparrow….

SLR 154

Warbling Vireo….just to mention a few…

SLR 157 

and will end with a shot of one of the prettiest spots I have ever seen!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Trip to Riefel Waterfowl Sanctuary – Dec. 30, 2010

Thought it was time to post something a little more current….

On December 30th we decided to make the trek into Riefel Waterfowl Sanctuary in Delta B.C.  This is something we try to do at least once a year, but it is a 2 to 2 1/2 hour drive and a bit tricky in that we have to take the dogs with us as it is too long to leave them at home, but they aren’t actually allowed in the sanctuary so have to be left in the car, which means it can’t be too cold or too hot….it also means that we have to stop somewhere before we get to Riefel to give the dogs a good walk…

Dec30'10slr 005

That somewhere…is the dyke at Boundary Bay….where there were thousands of these little Dunlin shorebirds.

Dec30'10slr 010

The other side of the dyke is all farmland – well except for the golf course further up.  You can actually walk this dyke for miles…

Eagles at the entrance

We parked at the Boundary Bay Park parking lot where there are  bathroom facilities – an important factor after a lengthy car trip.  These Bald Eagles were perched in this tree at the entrance to the parking lot.  With the dogs exercised it was time to head to Riefel, after a stop at Subway for some lunch!

On the way in we came across 30 or so vehicles parked at the side of the road – there has been a Hawk Owl in the area for several weeks and birders were coming from all over to see it.  Standing around at the edges of someone’s front yard with a bunch of people, most sporting cameras with humongous lens and looking down their ‘lens’ at anyone whose camera equipment doesn’t compare, is not my idea of bird watching.  We stopped long enough to take a peek with binoculars and continued on.

Peregrin Falcon at Riefel

This isn’t the Hawk Owl – it is a Peregrine Falcon that was perched over looking the slough as you enter the sanctuary.

Male pintail

One of the reasons for going to Riefel is to get good close pictures of various duck species – unfortunately, for some reason, about the last 3 trips we’ve made have been when it has been cold and all the ponds are pretty much frozen over so there has been very little in species variety – you can’t count the hundreds of very well fed Mallards that you have to tip toe through at the entrance!

The above is a Northern Pintail drake that was in one of the open areas of water although you can see the ice floating in the water…

Walkin' on water

This male Mallard was ‘walking on water’

general view

and just in case you’ve never been to Riefel, here is one of the large ponds that you can walk around.

Sandhill Crane

Another attraction at Riefel are the Sandhill Cranes that have taken up residence there.  Although not as thrilling as spotting these birds out in the wild, it does give an opportunity to get ‘up close and personal’ with them.

Me taking pictures

Did I say ‘up close’?

another view

here is another shot…

Crane closeup

or how ‘bout that?

Coots and shorebirds

Continuing on we spotted this little congregation out on the only spot of open water…

Coots and Dunlin

here is a closer look…

Dunlin and Coots

Turned out to be a combination of American Coots (the black ones) and more of those Dunlin…

Saw-whet Owl

Hiding in the depth of a Holly tree was this little Owl – I think a Saw-whet rather than a Pygmy but I’m not really sure.  It was hard to get a good look as a volunteer was there keeping watch to make sure visitors – and there were a LOT of visitors that day – got a look but didn’t disturb the little guy.


Another attraction at Riefel is the colony of Black Crowned Night Heron that hang out right at the entrance.  Again, like the Sandhill Cranes, these birds are perfectly free to leave, but have chosen to remain and breed at this spot.

Head turned

The usually spend the day sleeping, but it was getting on to late afternoon by this time and this guy at least was waking up.

Head up

Here is another good look before we head back to the car…

late afternoon

Now, of course after being cooped up in the car for 2 or 3 hours, we have to head back to the dyke to give the dogs another break before making the trek for home.  This location is by the golf course and was the area that a few years ago was inundated with Snowy Owls…no Snowy Owls this year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Well’s Gray P.P. – August 31st, 2010

Ok, so in real time it is already 2011 and I’m posting this, more as an experiment than anything, although it is definitely time I got this late summer trip finished off….but I want to find out if, in fact I can post this because my other blog ( is telling me that I can no longer post pictures to it (unless I pay) because I’ve used up all my free space.  Since there are probably 30 times the pictures on this blog than on the other, I want to see what happens…

August 31st found us in Well’s Gray P.P. with a day, weather wise, that wasn’t much better than the weather is outside today…never the less the plan was to work our way out of the park, checking off the various attractions as we went.

Late Sum. trip 2010 346

First stop was Secret Lake and I’m afraid it is a secret because unless you have a boat to get on the lake, this is all you can see…

Late Sum. trip 2010 357

Next, Baillie's Shoot – this was part of the trail leading from the large parking area down to the ‘shoot’

Late Sum. trip 2010 348

The ‘shoot’ is a narrow area of rapids on the Clearwater river…there is a viewing platform here…

Late Sum. trip 2010 351

So you can watch the Salmon leaping up the falls as they travel up the river to the lake….the run was just starting and I managed to get this shot…

Late Sum. trip 2010 359

Next stop – The Ray Farm – the sign pretty much says it all…the Ray family homesteaded here and raised a family many, many years before there were even any roads in the area.

Late Sum. trip 2010 361

That is the old farmhouse, the parks board keeps the meadow cleared but the rest is left to return to the earth….that orange in the foreground is one of the natural mineral springs that are located in the area.

Late Sum. trip 2010 362

a closer look at the farmhouse that housed a family…

Late Sum. trip 2010 377

Of course no trip to Well’s Gray would be complete without a visit to Helmcken Falls….

Late Sum. trip 2010 382

This view is down river from the falls, looking back towards the depth of the park.

Late Sum. trip 2010 369

One last look at the falls…it was pouring with rain so not as spectacular as they could be if it was a sunny day.

Late Sum. trip 2010 384

It was late afternoon by the time we made our way back to the town of Clearwater and headed to the campground at North Thompson Provincial Park. 

Late Sum. trip 2010 386

The rain had stopped although it remained kind of dull and gray….here is the North Thompson looking south towards the direction of Kamloops…

Late Sum. trip 2010 387

and from the same spot, looking north…

Late Sum. trip 2010 392

Some leaves were just starting to turn into their fall colors…this area was full of birds, mainly Swainson’s Thrush and Robins…