By Sheila Bonny
Special to the Pioneer
From a small birding festival 17 years ago, Wings Over the Rockies Festival has evolved into a celebration of the entire Columbia Valley: mountains, wetlands, and wildlife. Still, birding treks are among the most popular of the weeks events, and were fortunate to have a wealth of knowledgeable leaders in the Columbia Valley.
Randy Hopkins is such an enthusiastic birder that he is leading nine birding expeditions to various habitats during Wings week. On Monday, hell point out how wise waterfowl know where the water is warm: in the Invermere sewage lagoons! Hell will cruise for curlews in the grasslands on Tuesday and, on Wednesday, roam habitats from Invermere to Spillimacheen on an all-day blitz.
Thursday will find Randy at Dorothy Lake at dawn, in bottom-land habitat birding by ear and eye with naturalist Peter Jonker, and at the Wilmer Ramsar wetlands. On Friday, after another visit to Dorothy Lake, hell guide birders to Toby Creek in search of Harlequin Ducks and American Dippers.
Finally, along with festival keynote speaker, George Sirk, Randy will paddle into the Columbia Wetlands on Sunday.
Birders Cam Gillies, Hillary Page, Michael Den
Otter, Irene Manley, Howard Heffler, Ellen Zimmerman and Dean Nicholson will also be leading expeditions to bird habitats from Wasa Lake in the south to the Moberley Marshes north of Golden.
Register early to capture the infectious enthusiasm of these keen naturalists.
Wings Over the Rockies Festival dates are May 6th to 12th and registration begins April 8th on-line at www.WingsOverTheRockies.org, by telephone at 250-342-2473, or in-person at Pynelogs Cultural Centre.