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Hello! Recognizing that I would be staying local this year I decided to try and have a BC Birding Big Year! I set my goal at 190 birds for the province. Since there are ~260 breeding birds that can be seen in BC without having to spend too much money for weird locations, I thought 190 was doable. Also, since I live in the Okanagan Valley (Kelowna), there is a great opportunity to see ~200 birds here … again, if the conditions and timing are right.

The year started off very well, and through the end of July, I’m up to 129 birds. I think I can hit my goal if three things happen: 1) I can make a trip to the Lower Mainland (near Vancouver), 2) I make a trip to Eastern BC (in the Kootenays), and 3) I collect a few more Alpine birds overall.

Here are five of my favorite birds so far this year … The first is this Nashville Warbler.

Nashville Warbler

This is a first time bird for me — we were hiking on the High Rim Trail near Lake Country, BC … we heard several of them calling and were finally able to see it well enough to snap a few pictures. Lovely.

Red-eyed Vireo

This was another new bird for me. We were camping near Mabel Lake earlier this summer and had stopped at a small recreation area — Shuswap Falls Recreation Site. There were quite a variety of birds here — this was one of a pair … lovely.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

I was happy to see this little fellow — also near the High Rim Trail. He was in full mating display and it was easy to see his crest. I was happy he sat still for the minute or so I needed to focus. lol.

Veery

This was also a new bird for me — a Veery. Very similar in call and appearance as a Thrush. Beautiful vocalization — photographed along McCulloch Road leaving Kelowna. I found it funny that it was standing on one leg.

Northern Waterthrush

The final bird was another new one for me! The Northern Waterthrush. I almost confused it with a juvenile Robin, but that yellow color was too vibrant to ignore. A beautiful bird and very curious. We saw this near Browne Lake to the east of Kelowna.

Such a wonderful variety of birds … I’ve been very fortunate to add around 5 new birds to my “life list” pushing my total numbers up to 1,105. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the year!

Enjoy,

Stumblingpiper

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Australia: The Biking!

Yes, we finally made it to Australia! We had planned a visit for a total of 11 days here with a MTB tour scheduled in Port Douglas. It was to be a 1/2 day downhill adventure with a finishing ride along the beach. This was on the day before we were to leave, flying out to Sydney the next day.

We got dressed, waited outside for the pick up, all decked out and ready to go! Keep in mind that Deb had been telling me I should re-confirm our details with the company. I said, “nah, they’ll be here.” About 5 minutes after the scheduled pickup, I sheepishly called the company. They realized they had an administrative snafu and didn’t have us on the list. They were already on the trail and there was nothing we could do. Whoops. Why don’t I listen??

We were both pretty disappointed — this was going to be my one an only chance to ride in Australia and finish the continents for me! With this ride I would have ridden on all 6 (not sure I’d make it to bike in Antarctica … haha).

As we are both able to do, we flexed! We were heading to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. We used this tool called Google to find another bike company, changed our schedule, and were able to hire a couple of bikes for a self-guided ride … not just any ride, but a 40KM’er! Sam at Blue Mountain Bike Tours really took care of us. We followed the directions and made our way out to Hanging Rock overlook.

We liked that ride so much we decided to spend one of our days in Sydney MTB’ing too. We tracked down Joe’s Mountain Bike Tours … fantastic! He had us catch the ferry over to Manly Wharf from downtown. Great views of the Opera House on our way to the ride!

We got there and Joe picked us up and took us to the starting location.

A really nice thing about this ride … full suspension bikes! It’s amazing how you miss it when you don’t have it. Great Canadian bicycles … NORCO.

Joe was a great tour guide and teacher. He gave Deb pointers for this ride and she rode everything … rock drops included! The trail was awesome (around Manly Lake). The views were equally great.

Here’s a video clip of part of the trail … this is the climbing video. A lot of fun!

We thoroughly enjoyed the ride … finished it up in style!

Afterwards we had dinner at the Wharf to watch the sunset before returning to Sydney.

Although it seems like a missed ride opportunity was bad at first, it turned into a great thing; we wouldn’t have ridden the other locales without this mistake. It’s always a good thing when you can turn a negative into a positive! Woo Hoo!

Stumbling Piper

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Sorry for the long delay in posts … we’ve had spotty WiFi ever since we left Thailand.

As we made our way around Southeast Asia we found ourselves laughing at the language problems … a lot. Both from our attempts and from others. I realized quite early in the trip that using future perfect tense was a bad idea. For example, if we were speaking to someone about an ongoing tour and we asked “At what time during the tour will we have lunch?” The reply was usually, “Yes, we are going to have lunch.” Often we just waited to see what was going to happen.

Traveling to six different countries with different languages and dialects, we felt really good that we could say “hello,” “thank you,” and “good bye” in the local language. Anything else was a bonus! We did learn in Thailand how to say “medium” (Klang) … otherwise the Thai massages were going to kill us.

Usually, the people to whom we were speaking spoke English either very well or way better than we spoke their language. For us, the funniest thing we saw were the signs written in English … often the meaning was clear but the translation was not. Here are a couple of examples:

Here are a couple of more where we really didn’t know what the translation meant — usually with a menu (we found).

Yep, really not sure what this means. Anyone for a golden crispy bag? Or some punched balls? They were quite tasty!

Then there were the products shipped from China to Thailand written in English. These were pretty funny too.

Universal stents are not only for your heart but also for your phone.

I almost bought this “Dracket” for my phone. I’m not sure this cable is so smart.We bought this Colth prom the Gar experts … we thought 1 Free 1 meant 2 for 1. We were wrong.

Finally, there were signs not translated but we definitely got the meaning … or if not, we just asked a nice local to show us the picture and we were able to go from there!

The next post will find you enjoying the birds of Malaysia!

Stumblingpiper

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