Projects enhance oxbows’ reputation as birding hot spot

By on May 28, 2014
Barb Pryce, Southern Interior program manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, (second from right) leads a group of nature lovers through Bobalink Meadows to one of the Osoyoos Oxbows. The tour followed the official opening of new information panels at the kiosk Friday. The oxbows themselves were restored over a year ago in a joint project between the NCC and Ducks Unlimited. (Richard McGuire photo)

Barb Pryce, Southern Interior program manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, (second from right) leads a group of nature lovers through Bobalink Meadows to one of the Osoyoos Oxbows. The tour followed the official opening of new information panels at the kiosk Friday. The oxbows themselves were restored over a year ago in a joint project between the NCC and Ducks Unlimited. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Osoyoos Oxbows Area has long been considered a hot spot for birders who come to observe species of owls, bobolinks and many others.

Two recent projects have enhanced the reputation of this area to the north of Osoyoos Lake, underlining its international designation as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

On May 16, new information panels were unveiled at the kiosk on Road 22 where many nature lovers park to view the oxbows.

Secondly, ducks and many other aquatic birds are now making use of the oxbows, which were restored at the end of 2012 in a joint project by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).

A tour to one of the oxbows to see the completed restoration followed the kiosk official opening.

Oxbows are ponds that were once part of the meanders of the Okanagan River, but are no longer part of that river’s channel.

DUC dredged the badly silted oxbow remnants, reviving the ponds along the old river channel and creating a welcoming environment for birds.

Representatives of municipalities and conservation groups spoke at the May 16 official opening of the kiosk panels, praising the cooperation between numerous organizations and donors as well as praising the nature and birding experience itself.

The original panels, erected in the 1990s by the province, had aged, weathered and become out of date.

BC Nature took the lead on the new panels, securing more than $21,650 from Environment Canada to replace nine sign panels. A tenth panel was added with $2,000 in additional funding from DUC and the NCC.

Many other organizations made in-kind contributions to help develop sign content. Local naturalists and photographers contributed information and photographs.

Under the lead of Bryn White, program manager with the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program (SOSCP), landscaping around the kiosk is being improved. Native plants will be added when water is available.

Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells, Councillor Sue McKortoff, and board chair Mark Pendergraft of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) brought messages of congratulations.

While dignitaries were speaking to gathered conservationists, some observed a man climbing the girders of the bridge over the channel to photograph an osprey nest at close range while the anxious birds flew above him.

Conservationists confronted the man, telling him that harassing wildlife is an offence under the B.C. Wildlife Act.

The IBA designation, which was applied to Osoyoos Oxbows about a decade ago, offers no additional regulatory protection.

There are about 600 IBA sites across Canada and 10,000 worldwide.

BC Nature co-ordinates the IBA program in B.C. with support from Bird Studies Canada, Nature Canada and other organizations such as Environment Canada, the Province of B.C., naturalist clubs and other non-government organizations.

The goal of the program is to support efforts by local communities, landowners, individuals and organizations to ensure that birds can coexist with people in these areas.

Other local IBAs include Kilpoola Lake Area, Vaseux Lake Area, White Lake Area and Chopaka Customs.

Birds stop at these IBAs to rest during their long migrations or to stay and raise their young.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

Barb Pryce, Southern Interior program manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, (right) shows a group of nature lovers the work that was done to restore the Osoyoos Oxbows. The tour followed the official opening of new information panels at the kiosk Friday. The oxbows themselves were restored over a year ago in a joint project between the NCC and Ducks Unlimited. (Richard McGuire photo)

Barb Pryce, Southern Interior program manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, (right) shows a group of nature lovers the work that was done to restore the Osoyoos Oxbows. The tour followed the official opening of new information panels at the kiosk Friday. The oxbows themselves were restored over a year ago in a joint project between the NCC and Ducks Unlimited. (Richard McGuire photo)

Margaret Holm speaks at the official opening of the new nature information panel display in the kiosk at the Osoyoos Oxbows. Holm was the contractor who coordinated the project. The previous panels were in disrepair. The new panels include information about this internationally designated Important Bird Area. (Richard McGuire photo)

Margaret Holm speaks at the official opening of the new nature information panel display in the kiosk at the Osoyoos Oxbows. Holm was the contractor who coordinated the project. The previous panels were in disrepair. The new panels include information about this internationally designated Important Bird Area. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bryn White, third from left, speaks other nature lovers at the official opening Friday of new information panels in the kiosk at the Osoyoos Oxbows. White is program manager at the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program (SOSCP), an umbrella group of conservation organizations. The project was a joint effort of a number of organizations, with government assistance and local donations. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bryn White, third from left, speaks other nature lovers at the official opening Friday of new information panels in the kiosk at the Osoyoos Oxbows. White is program manager at the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program (SOSCP), an umbrella group of conservation organizations. The project was a joint effort of a number of organizations, with government assistance and local donations. (Richard McGuire photo)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA Image

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>