But this year my family and I decided to increase our July 4th ornithological sightings beyond that great American eagle, so we crossed over into the least American place we could find: Canada.
To the entire car's surprise, we discovered at the border that this day-trip was my dad's very first visit to Canada!
I had high hopes of being greeted by the Friendly Canadian Beaver, but instead we were welcomed by 75 species of bird.
Here are some of my photos taken near Osoyoos, Canada on a tour with my mom and dad, our master-birder friend Jack, and our awesome guides Greg and Doug from Great Horned Owl Eco-Tours. I hope you enjoy!
|A grey catbird with a bug in its mouth.|
|A cliff swallow pokes out from its mud nest under a bridge.|
|Three brown-headed cowbirds cavort in a tree.|
|A mama osprey protects her chicks from motorists on her bridge.|
|Adult and juvenile Western Birders.|
|A California quail.|
|A Williamson's sapsucker.|
|The day's crown jewel: a juvenile great grey owl! It was spotted miraculously through layers of fir boughs by my mother.|
|A house wren.|
|A male mountain bluebird.|
|The green mountain flora of Osoyoos.|
|A ruddy duck preens its feathers with its electric blue bill.|
|We added this vesper sparrow to my mom's life list! (And we would have added it to mine, if I kept one.)|
|Yellow and red. Pine siskin and Cassin's finch.|
|Female black-chinned hummingbirds.|
|A green inchworm on a twig.|
|A western kingbird.|
The western kingbird looked exactly like all the tropical kingbirds I saw while birding in Ecuador and Brazil. I even found several species of bird in both places! Throwback to my Ecuadorian bird post and see if you can count how many species overlap between Osoyoos and Puerto Lopez.
On our way home from Canada my family took the scenic, northern Route 20 over the Cascades. My mom and I just had to explore the overlook at Washington Pass.
It is not possible to capture the austere beauty of windswept rock and stunted trees in a photo, or to convey the prickly scent of pine sap in thin mountain air... but maybe you can imagine.