27 July 2011
Summer weather seems to have finally arrived in Penticton and the sunny south Okanagan, better late than never. The skies are blue, the sun shines warmly, and clouds are mainly fluffy white puffs high overhead – which means that bird watchers can get some great views of feathered friends.
The osprey nest at the corner of Warren Avenue and the Channel Bypass is a busy place these days, as the remaining two youngsters (yes, it appears that the third little one did not make it) are growing rapidly, and regularly peer out over the edges of the nest. Mama tends to spend most of her time with the young ones, while Papa stands guard at a distance in the tops of bare long-dead tree trunks. When human beings venture too close to the nest, Papa swoops from his perch, shouting at the intruders, and then flies up to the nest, lands for a moment or two to reassure his little family, and then sails back to his lookout.
The osprey family generously allows their much smaller feathered neighbours to perch on nest branches that extend out from the platform. The nest stands high on a pole above one of the Okanagan River’s oxbows, on the edge of a patch of wild untamed landscape. One building sits alone in the deserted bit of wilderness within the city, alongside a parking lot that is being slowly but surely overgrown by unruly vegetation. A row of lamp posts stick up incongruously here and there among the trees, bushes and grasses. Apparently at one time human inhabitants carved a recreational area out of this bit of land, perhaps a mini-golf course as I’ve heard tell. But except for the office building, parking lot, and lamp posts, mother nature is reclaiming this bit of Okanagan dryland next to the cut-off oxbows. The land and bits of water have become home to an increasing number of creatures large and small, as well as waterfowl and other birds who love the safety and openness of this wilderness of tall trees and wetlands which are bounded by highway on the west, a broad streetscape on the south, and single family residential homes to the east and north.
(To get the best view of the ospreys and their feathered friends, be sure to click on the photos to see enlarged photos).