DAY 1 – Meet at 8 AM in the parking lot of the Apple Bowl where we can leave vehicles for the day if need be. The address for the Apple Bowl is 1555 Burtch Road, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 6R9. Our first stop this morning is at Mission Creek where we will look for a roosting Western Screech-Owl. With a little luck we’ll add some other species here such as Pygmy Nuthatch, Pileated Woodpecker or American Dipper. Next, we’ll make our way north through the Glenmore Valley, stopping in at Robert Lake, excellent for a variety of waterfowl and other wetland species. From Robert Lake we’ll carry on to Lake Country and Beaver Lake Road. As we ascend the grassland habitat that dominates the first few km of the road, we’ll pause to look for Western and Mountain bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks, Say’s Phoebes, migrating raptors and more. Once we enter the forest, birds of a different type will begin to appear with species such as Red-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper and Red Crossbill all likely. We should encounter woodpeckers such as returning Red-naped Sapsuckers, and with luck Pileated, Hairy, Downy and perhaps American Three-toed woodpeckers. Northern Pygmy-Owl is possible along Beaver Lake Road today also. At some point along the road we will pause to have a picnic lunch. As we reach higher elevations Pacific Wrens and Varied Thrush should be encountered, along with Canada Jay and with luck Pine Grosbeak. Anywhere along the road edge in the forested sections of Beaver Lake Road we could spot a Ruffed Grouse. We will return to Kelowna in the mid-to-late afternoon, most likely around 4 PM and have a break for a couple of hours. After dinner we’ll do some owling, in search of Northern Saw-whet Owl, Barred Owl and if road conditions permit, we’ll try for Boreal Owl.
DAY 2 – This morning we’ll depart again from the Apple Bowl in Kelowna at 8 AM and we’ll begin the journey south through the Okanagan. We’ll make a short stop at Summerland to see if we can find any roosting Long-eared Owls. Our next stop will be at the beach in Penticton where a few gulls could be present including California, Glaucous-winged, Ring-billed, Herring and possibly a late Iceland Gull. We will then explore White Lake Road, stopping briefly at Three Gates Farm where White-breasted Nuthatch, Cassin’s Finch and possible Northern Pygmy-Owl are target species. Around White Lake in the sagebrush we’ll see Western and Mountain bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks, Say’s Phoebes and hopefully raptors such as Golden Eagle or a lingering Rough-legged Hawk. We’ll wind our way down the Green Lake Road, pausing to see what types of waterfowl are on Green and Mahoney lakes.
At Vaseux Lake we’ll walk the boardwalk to see what we can find. Possibilities include early migrants such as Marsh Wren, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. The new viewing tower is quite impressive and we’ll see what we can find from this sheltered triple deck structure. Next, a stop at the Vaseux Cliffs will be in order, where we hope to find Canyon Wren, Chukar, White-throated Swift, Golden Eagle and other species. This is a great area to spot Bighorn Sheep as well. At this point, we’ll head for Oliver and our motel.
After dinner we’ll try some more owling, along Road 22, where on past trips we have found Great Horned Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls. Though uncommon, there is always the chance of spotting a Barn Owl or a Long-eared Owl here.
DAY 3 – First thing this morning we’ll venture back to Road 22 where we will spend a couple of hours searching for the local specialties which include Bewick’s Wren, Long-billed Curlew, Northern Harrier, Osprey, migrant swallows, sparrow flocks and waterfowl. With a little luck there could be flocks of Sandhill Cranes or American White Pelicans moving through the area. The first Savannah Sparrows should be returning to the fields.
From Road 22 we’ll head north, pausing in Oliver for a coffee, before making our way up Shuttleworth Road, near OK Falls. Once we enter the larch forest we will search for one of the specialty birds of the area, Williamson’s Sapsucker. Barred Owl is possible here, and this is yet another location to search for the Northern Pygmy-Owl. Coniferous forests of Shuttleworth Road are good for an elusive and uncommon accipiter species, the Northern Goshawk. Up towards Rabbit Lake, in the spruce forest, we’ll search for other uncommon and local high elevation species including Boreal Chickadee, Spruce Grouse and White-winged Crossbill, the latter of which is irruptive and not always present. At this point we’ll begin heading north back towards Kelowna, planning to arrive back in the city in the mid-to-late afternoon where the tour will conclude.