well, it's funny how some species make us a little crazy, so crazy that we drive great distances, spend money on gas, take time out etc. and as with most wild animals, there are no guarantees that the bird will actually be there when you arrive.
Yet the personal rewards when you do finally nail that bird are what motivate us to get off the coach the next time, even though it's a long drive.
Mel knew i really wanted to get Williamson's Sapsucker and provided me with some info on where to look for them in Princeton and i was all over that, especially after hearing about Mel's youth birding group outings success the weekend before in Merritt.
Now i should have done the smart thing and gone to Lac Le Juene to shoot loons with chicks that morning since i had been invited but well you know, some species make us a little crazy, so crazy that i said no to what turned out to be an awesome photo session and headed out to Princeton early last saturday morning instead on a lark and a whim.
I've gotten back into driving again (sorry eco-warriors), just not anywhere in Vancouver city and have finally gotten over my aversion to that stretch of highway 1 that goes through the fraser valley, it's just soo dull, Abbotsford goes on for ever and then it's Chilliwack and then Bridal falls and then when you think you finally made Hope, you are still not quite there I enjoy the early morning drives through there though, it's pretty painless at 4am but the way back in the afternoon is always a tooth grinder with the traffic, oh well, that's life.
So, we went to the Princeton area last Saturday morning and looked and looked but couldn't come up with a Williamson's Sapsucker. The habitat sure looked right for the birds though, maybe this is where Deb got her shots.
We did get great looks at a White-breasted Nuthatch and a red-napped Sapsucker that got our hearts racing the first time we saw it, "is it a..?".
We looked really hard for two hours and then it started to rain and we realized that we were not going to get our bird, bummer..
The rain was coming down hard on the drive back home but i still wanted to stop at the Hope slide to see if i could find one of the reported Rock wrens but it was raining so hard that i gave up after about 10 minutes of standing around.
When Mel heard that we dipped at the first location she graciously supplied another spot in Merritt that we pursued yesterday morning.
i had heard that it was supposed to dump rain this weekend so i figured i should try to get the bird as early as possible so i told Api that we were leaving at 3:30am
She didn't like that but was a trooper about the early start nonetheless.
The trip out to Merritt seemed shorter than before and we arrived at around 6am-ish and wouldn't leave the dirt road we were on until 11am, (i wanted to get back into town for 4pm when my beloved Whitecaps were playing a game on TV - a game they lost grrr.).
It took a long time at two different location but we finally got our bird - a blazingly fast look at a female and later a very distant look at a male high up in a tree.
Great Success! as Borat would say
yeh, there just had to be a stick in the way of the only decent shot i got of the female.
Shots obviously need to be re-taken one day, gonna try hard next year to get something better than these, maybe a bit earlier in the season next time.
While we were looking for sapsuckers there was plenty of other bird life to occupy our time with.
Probably a Hammond's, never heard it's call so tough to say.
Mac warblers used to be one of those species that made me go crazy chasing, first time i saw one i walked 10 km in total for a look, now i see them everywhere i go
Was surprised how common Red-napped Sapsucker is in the interior, this shot tops the Princeton look.
Api found a House Wren nest in a tree stump and took some video, maybe one day she will make it publicly available (i want her to get more involved with shooting video when we travel), until then, here are some shots
On the drive back the heavens above opened up a torrent of rain all through the fraser valley stretch and i could barely see anything, people, when it's raining that hard you should maybe put your lights on, i found the lack of tail lights on in those conditions quite dangerous, all went smoothly however on the drive back to North Van.
Thanks for looking, that's all i got