Select Page

Bird’s-eye view: Watching osprey at Salmon Arm Bay

Bird’s-eye view: Watching osprey at Salmon Arm Bay

Getaways-Salmon-Arm-bayThe sliding door to our hotel balcony framed Salmon Arm Bay: fluorescent green wetlands, silver-blue Shuswap Lake, a rolling horizon defined by the Fly Hills, and not 50 metres away, two ospreys sitting on a pick-up-sticks nest strewn across a platform atop a tall pole.

A precocious teen chick, as big as its parents, made loud demands for food while Mom tore bits of fish with her beak and dropped them into its mouth. Dad did a close flyby before landing high in a tree near the Salmon Arm pier off to our right. Ee-eep, ee-eep?—?their calls and answers flew back and forth above the marsh; apparently we were eavesdropping on a very important family conversation.

Getaways-Salmon-Arm-ospreyDirectly below us, people strolled past on the boardwalk and we noticed others clustered on a patio with a view; birdwatching over a local ale and some appies seemed appealing. The hotel pub provided front row seats for the action on the boardwalk and in the nest, and the show came complete with colour commentary from an opinionated crow who alternated perches between the iron railing in front and the roof peak above. As the light turned mellow the ospreys vacated the nest, although there were still herons to watch as they glided in for their long-legged landings and nestled down for the night.

Back on our balcony early the next morning, the view was about the same, nobody at home in the nest, while five herons waded through the shallows like mini-dinosaurs. But by the time I brewed coffee the young osprey was back, loudly ordering breakfast.

Getaways-Salmon-ArmEventually we worked up the energy to abandon our own comfy nest for a visit to the Brighouse Nature Centre in Marine Park. We’d heard it offered a terrific video of the famous mating dance of the western grebe, performed every spring right there in the bay. When we arrived, though, we found the door locked and a note taped to the window with the information that “Mike” was on the pier.

Mike was easy to identify, what with the tripod-mounted spotting scope and all. We connected and latched onto what he was watching?— a pair of ospreys perched on a green navigation marker. Suddenly a shape unfolded; the great wingspan spread, then streamlined as the hunter torpedoed into the water, rising with a silver-sided fish clutched in a death grip. The osprey lit on a post below the square sign, safely removed from the other bird that continued to watch from above. A third swooped in and perched next to the watcher.

At first I thought these two were simply jealous, waiting to grab scraps or even drive off their successful rival, until it dawned on me that the tone of their calls could be more encouraging than taunting. When I suggested this to Mike, he confirmed that the lucky bird with the fish was this year’s fledgling; Mom and Dad were conducting classes and Junior had just learned how to catch his own breakfast.

When I finally looked beyond the drama on the marker, it occurred to me that there was an incredible variety of birdlife all around us?—?and so close. A huge heron stood across the channel; ducks and geese poked in the shallows; and a bald eagle perched on a nearby post.

We caught up with Mike at the nature centre and checked out the specimens, videos, books, charts and photos, leaving with a map of the nature trail that rims the bay, and a new plan for what to do with our afternoon.

Photos by Laurie Carter. As published in July Okanagan Life magazine.


Related Post

About The Author

Laurie Carter

This grandma wears hiking boots (and other fetching footwear) in search of cultural, culinary and eco-adventure. Award-winning writer, photographer and author of the popular Grandma Wears Hiking Boots guide to the Okanagan Valley, Laurie proudly serves as senior editor of Okanagan Life magazine.

30,000 giveaway for small business okanagan

Current Issue

yearly-subscribeDigital Edition - Yearly Subscription

Each month, we're giving away 30 free annual subscriptions to celebrate our 30th year in publishing! With a digital subscription, you can enjoy Okanagan Life on your tablet.

Upcoming Events

6:00 pm Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate
Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate
Mar 21 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate | West Kelowna | BC | Canada
Join us on Wednesday’s for our long table dinners, each time exploring a different theme or region in the world. Enjoy 3 family-style courses for $55 per person (plus tax & gratuity). January 10: France[...]
7:00 pm Hedley: Cageless Tour @ Prospera Place
Hedley: Cageless Tour @ Prospera Place
Mar 23 @ 7:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Hedley: Cageless Tour @ Prospera Place | Kelowna | BC | Canada
HEDLEY Cageless Tour With special guests Shawn Hook and Neon Dreams Friday, March 23 PROSPERA PLACE, Kelowna All Ages / Reserved Seating Doors: 6:00pm / Show: 7:00pm Facebook Presale: Wed, Sept 27 at 10am –[...]
7:30 pm Kelowna Fan Experience 2018 @ Kelowna Community Theatre
Kelowna Fan Experience 2018 @ Kelowna Community Theatre
Mar 23 @ 7:30 pm – Mar 25 @ 10:03 pm
Kelowna Fan Experience 2018 @ Kelowna Community Theatre | Kelowna | BC | Canada
Kelowna Fan Experience March 23, 24 & 25 at Kelowna Community Theatre, Rotary Centre For The Arts, The Black Box Theatre & Okanagan Regional Library New Vintage Theatre is ready to party! It is our[...]
7:30 pm New Vintage Theatre presents The... @ Kelowna Community Theatre
New Vintage Theatre presents The... @ Kelowna Community Theatre
Mar 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
New Vintage Theatre presents The Debaters @ Kelowna Community Theatre | Kelowna | BC | Canada
New Vintage Theatre proudly presents The Debaters LIVE! at KFX 2018 You have heard the hit show on CBC Radio, now see it live as part of our amazing, three day pop culture festival. Headlining[...]


Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match