We left Homer on 16 July 2015 bound for Colorado, Arizona, and Africa – in that order. We made pretty good time, of course doing a little birding along the way – at least we tried while traveling through Alaska and Canada. When we did our year long adventure in 2013-2104, we had 51 species of birds before we even hit the Canadian border. This year I think we had about 6 species. What a difference it makes when you travel during – our Bird Adventure we left in early September – fall migration. This year the birds had yet to begin migration, except for the male ducks.
We spent the night at a campground within the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. This is one of only a few national wildlife refuges that allows camping. We love this spot and have stopped here overnight often on our travels up and down the Alaska Highway.
Near the Alaska/Yukon border is a wetland, which besides being beautiful, always yields some interesting birds, including this year a Trumpeter Swan family.
Once in Canada we stopped periodically to check out the many ponds alongside the road, looking for waterfowl and any shorebirds. Most of the waterfowl were females with their young, which personally I find harder to identify than shorebirds in non-breeding plumage and many sparrows. Does anyone know of a good field guide for female ducks and their young?
We took the Cassier Highway and stopped at the Blue Lakes. These were some great wetlands too, yielding Common Loons, a Rusty Blackbird, four Lesser Yellowlegs, Bohemian Waxwings, and several flycatchers. Okay so maybe female ducks are easier to identify than certain flycatchers (Empidonax spp.)
This was the first time we did not see a Black Bear feeding along the Cassier Highway. In fact, we didn’t see much wildlife at all. The birds must have been busy with domestic details since they were not jumping out at us. In one campground in British Columbia we did encounter a number of curious squirrels, including this one.
We traveled down through the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. There were a number of forest fires near some of the towns we passed through. A little scary. In two different towns we saw, but I was unable to photograph, an interesting sight. Imagine this … instead of going to a drive-through kiosk for coffee you go to a drive-through kiosk for “corn”. Yes, corn. The buildings were painted, what else – yellow. I almost made Jack turn around so I could get a photo.
Internet service in the campgrounds was no existent through much of our trip, so I decided to wait until we reached Arizona to write blogs for the past three weeks. Stay tuned – what can you expect next? We visited three National Wildlife Refuges while on our trip – Little Pend Oreille (Washington), Seedskadee (Wyoming), and Arapaho (Colorado). And later …. the four different National Parks we visited on our trip to date – Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon, and Mesa Verde.
The Adventure continues …. and remembers “Its always a Great Day to Bird”