[Tweeters] Birding Catherdral Provincial Park (British Columbia)-----Trip Report with Photos

Khanh Tran fsprucegrouse at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 11 11:02:42 PDT 2013

My partner and I spent a fun 4th of July at Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos, BC. Higher elevation birds such as white tailed ptarmigans, spruce grouse, boreal owl, boreal chickadees, white winged crossbills, and can be found with relative ease. The scenery is beautiful with campgrounds and lower elevation trails being well maintained.  Access to white tailed and rock ptarmigan habitat requires a strenuous hike with good route finding skills but well worth it.   Boreal Owls nested here a few years back but I ran out of steam after the strenuous hikes to do any owling. There are about 80 species that can be seen with the lodge area of the park.

The area has 33,000 ha of wilderness encompass deep forests, sub-alpine meadows, lakes and ridges and jagged peaks. The area is dominated with mostly Englemann spruce-subalpine fir forest, subalpine meadows, alpine ridges, six lakes, and various stream and wetlands. Whether you camp or stay in the private lodge (~6800 ft), I would recommend taking the private transportation provided to get you to ideal habitat.  If not, you will have to hike up 10 steep miles from base camp with a elevation gain of 4,000 ft or so.

Besides the wonderful scenery, the birding was great and each morning, our campsite was literally a petting zoo.  Mountain goats, deer, yellow bellied marmots, chipmunks, deer, snow shoe hare, gray jays, and Clark's Nutcracker visited within a few feet of our tent.  American Three Toes, Black backed woodpeckers,  pine grosbeaks, boreal chickadees, and spruce grouse were within a few hundred yards from our tent.  Plenty of good photo opportunities here.

I highly recommend the Ladyslipper Trail and visiting Smokey the Bear and the Cleft.  The mountain ranges reminded me of the Sawtooth Mtn in Idaho, and I loved the rock formation and coloration.  Some of my ptarmigans images exhibit this and the rocks provided great camouflage for these cryptically plumaged, chickens.   
Here are two websites providing information about the park and the private transportation and lodging for those who choose not to camp.



My recent photos can be found here.   (Note: some are taken with Iphone)


Target birds seen during two day trip near lodge:

Northern Goshawk: (one adult bird near Quinscoe Lake)
Spruce Grouse: (Two female with broods, one single female, and three adult males)
White tailed Ptarmigan (Two pairs and three males along Red Mtn and Quinscoe Mtn)
American Three Toe Woodpecker (A dozen or so birds within the lodge)
Black Backed Woodpecker (One bird near the lodge entrance)
Boreal Chickadee (Two dozen, almost on every trailed that we hiked)
Gray Crowned Rosyfinches (several birds around the Rim Trail and Red Mtn)
Pine Grosbeak (Two pairs near Quinscoe Lake and Lake of the Woods)
White Winged Crossbills (Up to six birds along Lake of the Woods and the Quinscoe Lake)
Good birding,
Khanh Tran

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