On 3rd of May I was informed by Caroline Wallace that an aquaintance had seen and photographed a Long-billed Curlew on the Baseball area of Oliver Park. Caroline arranged for images to be sent to me by the photographer Ila Kurnik, and indeed, as identified – a Long-billed Curlew. Ila understands that there are two birds and kindly gave me permission to use the image attached to this note.
The Long-billed Curlew has traditionaly bred in the south Okanagan, but, like its cousin in the Western Palearctic ( Eurasian Curlew), populations are decreasing. My first sighting of the species in the Okanagan was of a couple flying south over Manuel’s flats on 25th May 1997 when I was visiting Canada. I also saw them there on 7th of May in 2001. My first ever sighting of the species was at Keremeos on 21st May 1997 whilst on my way to Osoyoos.
Once upon a time regular breeders at White Lake, I have never seen one there in the 17 years I have lived in Oliver. They breed (or did) on the Indian reserve south of Road 22 and indeed still breed spasmodically at Rd 22 per se.
So what is it (they?) doing by the baseball area? Well, my guess is that a pair may be breeding on one of the meadows just south of the bridge and they are using the manicured grass as an easy site to find food – especially with the high water table currently prevailing.
I saw a single individual there on 8th May at 07.10 hrs.
Keep your eyes open – especially by the baseball area.