We chose one of the hottest days of the season (35 degrees!) to go birding with the Nicola Valley naturalists, but what a success it was!! On Sunday, June 5th, 12 Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists joined 16 members of the Merritt club at Seven Half Diamond Ranch, where we had been given permission by owners Jim & Heather O’Connor to meander. We spent 3 ½ hours roaming the trails and admiring the scenic landscape, where rolling ranchland is dotted with ponds and marshes. Led by ornithologist Alan Burger, we observed 46 species of birds, highlights of which were Kildeer, Sora, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Swainson’s Thrush, Cinnamon Teal and Blue-winged Teal. Goslings and ducklings were prevalent, including Mallard, Bufflehead and Barrow’s Goldeneye babies. We also spotted a couple of Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes in Batstone Lake, a Columbia Spotted Frog, and numerous Western Toad tadpoles and “toadlets” (one-year-olds).
Although the day was warm, we found a shady spot by one of the ponds for our lunch break, where the mosquitoes weren’t too pesky! Halfway along our walk we were entertained by a group of steers who raced towards us as if expecting food, then galloped away at full speed, perhaps realizing their mistake. A few of us were privileged to have a tour of the main house before we left this spectacular site, and we thank the O’Connor’s for their gracious hospitality. It was a splendid day!
Header photo by Janis Wright