[Tweeters] O.T. 3 Week Road Trip to B.C. & Yukon Territory Part 1 (Long)

STEVEN ELLIS sremse at comcast.net
Sun Jul 14 14:15:51 PDT 2019

Here's a report in 3 parts of our camping trip . The distances are so great we didn't get in a ton of birding (plus birds have to compete with wildflowers, mammals, butterflies for our attention).

Day1: Coupeville Wa. to Lac La Heche Provincial Park. 1st bird in Canada was a GB Heron that had just caught a fat mammal. Kestrels & Red-tails were sighted along the way along with Mt Bluebirds. The campground is in Douglas-firs and aspens. Western Tanagers, siskins, Hermit Thrush et al. That evening we walked to the lake and saw a young Common Loon riding on the back of a parent. Columbian Ground & Red Squirrels.

Day2: North towards Prince George and then west on Hwy16. Several deer along the way. A rest area near Hixon had the 1st of a zillion Y-rumped Warblers we were to see & a Red-naped Sapsucker. Lots of rolling hills, pastures, ponds and creeks. Near Topley, our 1st Yellow-shafted No. Flicker. Hwy118 to Red Bluff Prov.Park. 2 Black Bears and a Moose along the route.The campground is set on a lake surrounded by lush forest. Very birdy: 6 warbler species including MacGillivray's American Redstart & Magnolia. I highly recommend this spot. We were the only campers.

Day3&4 Continued west on Hwy16, then north on Hwy37 (Cassiar Hwy) to Meziadin Lake Prov.Park. 4 bear day including 2 cinnamon phase Black Bears. Near 1 bear was a silver phase Red Fox (which always looks black to me).

The lake had its requisite loons- we heard the tremelo call in the am. Beaver in an amazingly small pond. Drove to Stewart, Hwy37A. Great looks at glaciers. Black Bear with 2 cubs crossed the road. Red-breasted Sapsucker in town. We took the boardwalk over the estuary. Interesting flowers including no.rice-root lily. All the while, I had the strong feeling I'd see a weasel. No luck until we were driving about a mile out of town. I hit the brakes to keep from running over a Short-tailed Weasel scampering across the road with a prey item in its mouth. Spruce Grouse standing by the side of the road watching the traffic go by.

Day5&6 Glad to get away-too many human neighbors in the campground. We did hear loon wail and yodel calls. North on Hwy 37 where the forest makes a dramatic change to spruce and lodgepole pines. Rest area north of Iskut- female White-winged Crossbill- lifer! 1 bad stretch of road, perhaps 5 miles. Stopped to bird Lower Gnat Lake (love the name; weirdly, it seems to be above Upper Gnat Lake). Open, shrubby area- Alder Flycatcher,Green-winged Teal,Greater,Yellowlegs, Mew Gulls(& loons, of course). Continued on seeing 2 bull Moose in a lake near the Dease River, 4 Black Bears for the day, and a cross phase Red Fox. Camped at Boya Lake Prov. Park. A soda lake and kind of smelly but the campground had some good birds: Ruffed Grouse w/4-5 young, family of Boreal Chickadees.One of the fuzzy young almost landed on the picnic table. LOTS of wildflowers and butterflies- we're still keying them out. Y-rumps are now Myrtles and the juncos are slate-colored. More White-winged Crossbill!

"It's the cussedest land I know,

>From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it

To the deep, deathlike valleys below."

excerpt from Spell of the Yukon by Robert Service


-----Steve Ellis

Coupeville, Wa

sremse at comcast.net

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