Some years ago a friend sent me photos of a bird to identify; it was a Clark’s Nutcracker. She had it sat on her daughters hand in a place near her now home in Hope, BC, it was Manning Park. Clark’s Nutcracker would have been a new species for me at the time, a species that I had long wanted to see. Fortunately I subsequently had the opportunity to see them in Nevada and then in California, but I was still keen to see them again on the BC trip, especially as it would be in Canada and therefore an addition to my growing Canada list.
The park is very scenic and well done, it absorbs and redistributes visitors and the main lodge area serves the public’s requirement of refreshments and somewhere to pee very well. Around the lodge area noisy Clark’s Nutcrackers were everywhere. Looking on are alert Columbian Ground-Squirrels (animal tick, yes I keep track!), while Steller’s Jays sneak in and other birds drop by for a bit. The only annoying bit was that the hummer feeders were in such a public place that the birders never got to settle and feed, I was after Calliope.
Over the road from the lodge a road climbs high to a parking lot with breathtaking views. Washington State seems almost within touching distance to the south and the peaks rise and fall all around. The parking lot has its own Clark’s Nutcrackers plus Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels that pester the parkers. Over the hills a couple of Golden Eagles wheeled and surveyed their borderless kingdoms. Moving on higher still, an Alpine Meadow had carpets of flowers, cut through with tracks and trails, all dutifully ignored by the two twats doing Thai-chi. I stuck around the car scanning for swifts and pessimistic about seeing Sooty, or even better Dusky Grouse. After a few minutes Sandra came hurrying breathlessly back, grouse!
Not 100m away but hidden from the parking lot Derek, her dad, stood motionless, a feared that he might flush the grouse. I peaked around the corner, scanning for the star, Derek point about eight feet in front of him! The Sooty Grouse, note the big, grey tail band, meandered between us and downslope towards the Thai-chi merchants. Butterflies were about up there too, not many but all new to me, I believe that this is Edith’s Checkerspot.
On a second visit we just called in briefly and I managed a few picture of Western Tanagers, the adults and their noisy young snaffling berries feet away.
Clark’s Nutcrackers above, Columbian Ground-Squirrel below.
Sooty Grouse above, Cascade la la below.
Edith’s Checkerspot above, Western Tanager below.