iN PHOTOS: Migratory birds in focus for Kamloops photographers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN PHOTOS: Migratory birds in focus for Kamloops photographers

The bald eagles migrate in the winter to find areas with open water.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Stephen James
May 28, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Bird season is upon us as many migratory species have already set down in the B.C. Interior or will do so in the coming weeks.

Various photographers around the Kamloops area shared photos of some bright-billed ducks, elusive herons and solemn owls during hikes and boat rides.

Cayla Cristy was kayaking at Brown Lake when she snapped a photo of a bird she hadn’t seen before. When she arrived onshore and looked through a friend’s bird book, they realized it was a blue heron.

Rick Howie, a member of the Kamloops Naturalist Club and author of various bird-related articles, says that blue herons have been hard to find over the past few years as they often change their home base.

This blue heron was spotted by a kayaker on Brown Lake.
This blue heron was spotted by a kayaker on Brown Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Cayla Christy

“The heron colonies that we’ve been familiar with seem to keep getting abandoned every few years. I don’t know where the current colony might be,” Howie says. “Heron colonies do last for a number of years and sometimes they decide to pull up stakes and move to another location because their droppings enrich the soil so much that the trees begin to die, so they move. Sometimes it’s from human disturbance... we really don’t know what’s going on with the local ones here.”

Another photographer snapped photos of other waterfowl in the Kamloops area that have likely started nesting, according to Howie. Loekie Van Der Wal snapped photos of drake green-winged teals and ruddy ducks with their bright blue bills while on a hike in Lac Du Bois.

Van Der Wal also captured an image of a pair of ruddy ducks. Howie says the females are likely almost ready to lay their eggs.
Van Der Wal also captured an image of a pair of ruddy ducks. Howie says the females are likely almost ready to lay their eggs.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Loekie Van Der Wal

Howie says nearly all of the expected migratory species have arrived in the area, and some will be staying to lay eggs and raise their young. The ruddy ducks are nearly ready to lay their eggs, while the green-winged teals could already be nesting.

“The ruddy ducks and green-winged teals, they migrate in the March to April period… they mostly migrate here when the ponds begin to open,” Howie says. “Some remain here to breed, and others go farther north.”

The green-winged teal was spotted by a hiker in the Lac Du Bois Grasslands.
The green-winged teal was spotted by a hiker in the Lac Du Bois Grasslands.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Loekie Van Der Wal

Stephen James was at Shumway Lake when he saw two bald eagles and a golden eagle fighting over suckerfish.

The bald eagles migrate in the winter to find areas with open water.
The bald eagles migrate in the winter to find areas with open water.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Stephen James

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says that some golden eagles migrate during the colder months, while some stay put. According to the Hinterland Who’s Who, the bald eagles will migrate either from an inland base to the coast or migrate south, wherever they can find open water. 

The three eagles are fighting over fish at Shumway Lake.
The three eagles are fighting over fish at Shumway Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Stephen James

Howie says there are some other bird species that may or may not come to the area, as some choose different migratory locations each year. He expects the cedar waxwing to be the last of the species to arrive for certain and says they should be here within the next week.

Howie says if you see a bird you believe could be rare, send the photos to the Kamloops Naturalist Club.

Some other Kamloops photographers have captured shots of birds who might not fly great distances, but the shots are worth sharing. Peter Olsen says he's not a bird photographer, but has happened to get some portraits of various species that are worth checking out.

Peter Olsen captured this photo of what appears to be a great grey owl.
Peter Olsen captured this photo of what appears to be a great grey owl.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Olsen Imaging

This action shot was captured by Peter Olsen.
This action shot was captured by Peter Olsen.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Olsen Imaging

Peter Olsen came across this eagle who was watching over the Kamloops landscape.
Peter Olsen came across this eagle who was watching over the Kamloops landscape.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Olsen Imaging

— This story was updated at 10:02 a.m. on Monday June 1, 2020 to correct the spelling of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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