Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Many Birds of Peter Hope Lake ~ Eagles

Springtime means new life in this wonderful nature that surrounds us.  I wanted to get some photos of that once the weather permitted so when I read an article in the paper about the “frogs, turtles and ducks” at Peter Hope Lake, we made a plan to go there for a first time visit. 

Peter Hope Lake
Peter Hope Lake sits up at 1082 m (3549’) but in spite of the cooler weather we’ve had, the ice is gone and the lake has several fishermen out there trying their luck for the Rainbow Trout.  There is a resort across the lake and the BCFS campground on the side we visit, which is surprisingly full of campers on this cool spring day.  Now I take a closer look at this marshy area.

Mr & Mrs Canada Geese
Across the marsh and all alone are two Canada Geese quietly watching the sights.  I do wonder if they have a nest on their little plot of land.  I am surprised not to see more of them but perhaps the rest are down in the warmer areas.

Redwinged Blackbird
They say that the Redwinged black bird is the most abundant living land bird in North America, yet I’ve rarely seen them.  The males are the only ones with the color so they do stand out and the female are a nondescript dark brown.  They do seem to favor the marshy areas.

Ruddy duck
This was definitely the first sighting for us of the Ruddy ducks.  They also favor the marshy lakes and ponds.  As the Redwinged Blackbirds, the females are “brownish” and so are the young males.  During summer months, the males have a bright blue bill that is paler in winter.  This male appears to be in transition from winter to summer colors.  Their typical brood is 5 to 15 ducklings.

the Coot
I am familiar with the American coot.  We most often see them down south during winter months where they enjoy the ponds on the golf courses.  They are mistaken to be a duck but are not, their feet are built more for walking on dry land.  The male and female look very similar other than a larger plumage on his head when he is being aggressive.

Blue Jays
Another bird not often seen in our neighborhood is the Blue Jay.  By their main food, they almost sound like a squirrel, and they are known to hide nuts for eating later, as are the squirrels, too.  This photo was taken quite a ways away so I didn’t even realize they were blue jays until I got these downloaded. A very nice surprise.  

Bald headed eagle family meet for dinner
The biggest thrill of the day was seeing these eagles across the field from the road as we headed back  home.  I only wish I had a video of the excitement we watched.  There were only one adult and one young one but that soon changed and another adult and two young ones came to enjoy the feast.

A late arrival
I did get a photo of one lifting the ‘catch’ (not shown and not a fish) and they did seem to be fighting over that.  Wings spread and big jumps offered several photo opportunities.  The young ones have a very large wing span so they mustn't be yearlings.

A convocation of Bald headed eagles
Then there were more!  Bald headed eagles mature at the age of 5 years and then will have their white head which means that the majority of these eagles are under 5 years.  Eagles are more often spotted in trees but sat in this area for so long.  I guess with the water running from the lake down through the fields, there may be some fish passing by, much easier fishing this way.

We didn’t see any frogs on our travels today, disappointing but we did see some beautiful birds out there so it was well worth the trip.  We do see lots of Canada Geese in our parks in the city and in our neighborhood the crows are the main resident and we have plenty of them.  At least they are fairly quiet, nothing like our local doves, who love to sit atop the poles on the street and call.  

To reach Peter Hope Lake, follow Princeton-Kamloops Hwy/BC-5A from Kamloops towards Merritt for 54 km to Peter Hope Rd. Turn left onto Peter Hope Rd and follow for 8 km to the lake.