DAY 1 – Meet 8 AM at parking lot of Apple Bowl on Burtch Rd in Kelowna. From here we will carpool and spend the day birding in the Kelowna area. The itinerary of this particular tour will depend on where local bird sightings have been made to some extent so nothing on here is set in stone. We'll explore areas east of Kelowna this morning, first checking for roosting screech-owls along Mission Creek. We'll then explore some open grassland habitat where we often find Northern Shrike, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk and in some years Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches. As we climb into the mixed coniferous forest, we'll begin to find woodland species such as Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Steller's Jay and perhaps Northern Pygmy-Owl. We'll reach our maximum elevation at the Big White Ski Village, where boreal birds like Gray Jay, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll and if we're lucky, Boreal Chickadee can be found. We'll have dinner, as a group, and then we may go out looking for owls. Night in Kelowna.
DAY 2 – An early morning visit to Scenic Canyon, along Mission Creek, should produce some interesting species for our trip list, such as American Dipper, Pacific Wren, White-throated Sparrow and perhaps Wilson's Snipe. On our 2018 tour, a Winter Wren was a big highlight here. Bohemian Waxwings are often noted at this location, and along the little spring that trickles down the hillside, a number of unusual birds have shown up over the years, so who knows what we might see.
We will then cross the Bennett Bridge and make our way towards Penticton. Once in Penticton we will check the waterfront for gulls and waterfowl as this area turns up excellent birds from time to time. A walk through the lakeside riparian habitat at Esplanade Trail could yield some interesting birds such as wintering Yellow-rumped Warblers, Spotted Towhee, White-throated Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Western Bluebird or Hermit Thrush. We will stop briefly at Okanagan Falls to see American Dippers and Barrow's Goldeneye along the river and then we'll check out the north end of Vaseux Lake. Here, we should see Trumpeter Swans and a variety of waterfowl if there is open water. We'll then head into Oliver, where we spend the night. This evening we can explore the Road 22 area for owls where we could find Northern Saw-whet Owls, Great Horned Owls, Long-eared Owls and perhaps even a Barn Owl with some luck.
DAY 3 – Our final morning on this tour will be spent in the Road 22 area, at the north end of Osoyoos Lake. On the lake itself, we'll scope for waterfowl, which often includes Red-breasted Merganser at this location. Great Blue Herons and Ring-necked Pheasants hide in the marshes here, while Rough-legged Hawk and Northern Harrier soar over the open fields. This area is excellent for Northern Shrike as well. If the oxbow waters are ice free we could see some interesting waterfowl such as Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Gadwall and maybe even a Northern Shoveler.
We'll then divert our attention to some nearby rocky cliffs where we hope to find Canyon Wrens, Chukar, Golden Eagle and more. In the antelope brush we could stumble upon a flock of Gray Partridge. Before we officially end the tour we may pop into Inkaneep Provincial Park to see what is about, as there can often be a Bewick's Wren here. Another option is Three Gates Farm on White Lake Road for White-breasted Nuthatch. The tour will wrap up around 4:30 PM in Kelowna.