Day 1 - Today we meet at sunrise (which is about 8 AM). Our intinerary throughout the tour may change, depending on where the interesting birds are at the time, so this is just an outline of what we might do. Today we begin in Kelowna along Mission Creek, where we will look for a roosting Western Screech-Owl. The fast flowing waters of the creek are also excellent for American Dippers.
Next, in the Joe Rich area, we will look for another owl, the tiny Northern Pygmy-Owl. Other species possible in this area include Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Pacific Wren, American Three-toed Woodpecker, and Black-backed Woodpecker. Up towards Big White, a ski hill, about an hour southeast of Kelowna, birds will be few and far between. The ones that are there could be of interest to us however, as they can include Canada Jay, Pine Grosbeak and Boreal Chickadee.
Later on in the afternoon, we can explore a few locations along the waterfront in Kelowna, where birds like Common Loon, grebes, a variety of gulls, waterfowl and raptors can be found.
Night in Kelowna.
Day 2 - We can look for any species in the Kelowna area before we head south. At Penticton, a check of the beach at Okanagan Lake is often fantastic for waterbirds, especially gulls. Most winters there is something interesting to see here such as a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gulls and the newly renamed Short-billed Gull. At the nearby Esplanade Trails we can take a look for wintering birds like Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Western Bluebird, American Robin, Varied Thrush and Cedar Waxwing.
Continuing south, a visit to some cliffs near Vaseux Lake may yield birds like Canyon Wren, Golden Eagle and Chukar. Bighorn Sheep are often seen at these cliffs as well. At the north end of Vaseux Lake, if the lake is not totally frozen, we could see a wintering flock of Tundra and Trumpeter swans, as well as other ducks.
There are areas of burned forest on the east side of the valley near Okanagan Falls and Oliver that may be good for woodpeckers.
After dinner we may go look for Northern Saw-Whet Owls.
Night in Oliver.
Day 3 - Our morning will begin at the north end of Osoyoos Lake in the Road 22 area. Raptors dominate in this habitat, and we should see harriers, eagles, Red-tailed and Cooper's hawks, and American Kestrel. Northern Shrike also like the open field habitats here. Weedy fields are home to wintering sparrow flocks, which can occasionally turn up something interesting. Waterfowl on the lake often includes Red-breasted Merganser at this time of year. Bewick's Wrens can be found in the riparian habitat along the oxbows.
Haynes Point Park in Osoyoos is a good place to see wintering birds like robins, Western Bluebirds, Spotted Towhee, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, with occasional rarities like Hermit Thrush and Gray Catbird.
To finish off our tour, we will head into the Richter Pass, where we have a reasonable chance at finding Chukar, if we haven't aready done so. At Chopaka, we also may find the rather elusive Gray Partridge. If it's a good finch year, we'll watch out for redpolls. Snow Buntings can be encountered in the Richter Pass.