The Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, is home or waystop for over 300 species of birds annually, making it a destination location for birders. Spring, summer, fall and winter each bring their own sightings. A wide range of habitats is also key. From the valley bottom, where Okanagan Lake is fed by rivers and streams, through urban and rural gardens and parks, marshes, and riparian habitats, the hills rise gradually through grasslands and dotted Ponderosa Pines to the mixed conifer forest at higher elevations. All these different areas host species with differing requirements for nesting and finding food. Some birds come only in summer to breed here. Others arrive from breeding further north to spend their winters here. And still others pass through briefly in spring or fall migration. There is always something to see. I liken birding to a Treasure Hunt. You never know what you will find and sometimes the most rewarding outings occur when least expected.
Occasionally a rarity appears, a bird blown off-track by storms perhaps. Below are some rare avian visitors to the valley which I have been lucky enough to photograph over the past few years.