Over 230 birders flocked to the Creston Valley for the 10th annual Bird Festival from May 13 to 15.
Despite the chilly temperatures, festival goers bundled up and ventured out at 6 a.m. on tours to the local wetlands and forested hot spots.
“Thanks to all for coming. This festival was a huge success thanks to our wonderful bird guides and committee members,” said Ulrike Sliworsky, Bird Festival co-ordinator.
For Global Big Day, recognized on May 14, ornithologists and hobby birdwatchers alike helped collect data for eBird by counting the species seen around the valley.
A total of 120 species were seen over the weekend by the Bird Festival groups. Tour guides Ed and Hazel Beynon won the prize for most species seen with 77.
The couple also spotted a lone Snow Goose in a field full of Canada Geese. They also saw a Lesser Yellowleg, Long-billed Dowitchers, and found the only Blue Jay for the weekend.
Fifteen-year-old Gaelen Schnare, a prolific birder and photographer from Nelson, led a birding tour along Kootenay River Road.
His group found nine unique species not spotted by the others, including Ruffed Grouse, Swainson’s Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Pacific Wren, Townsend’s Solitaire, Evening Grosbeak, Bobolink, Orange-Crowned Warbler, and (believe-it-or-not) a House Sparrow.
At Leach Lake, tour guide Gary Davidson found a rare bird – the White-throated Swift – amongst a group of Vaux’s flying overhead. This group also found some other unique species including Northern Pintail, Dusky Grouse, American Redstart, and a Black-headed Grosbeak.