Get Outdoors! and go birdwatching in Vernon

Swan Lake is one of the most important waterfowl areas in southern B.C.

Just one small view from the new observation tower. (Roseanne Van Ee photo)

Just one small view from the new observation tower. (Roseanne Van Ee photo)

Have you been to the Swan Lake Nature Reserve Park yet?

Swan Lake is one of the most important waterfowl areas in southern B.C. and is a critical stop on a migration flyway.

With the fall just around the corner, this is a marvellous park to watch remarkably rare birds to the Okanagan like American White Pelicans and Trumpeter Swans that migrate through.

Keep tuned to the North Okanagan Naturalist Club Facebook site for their arrival updates and bring your binoculars and enjoy!

This is a unique and exceptional bird sanctuary and wildlife reserve, not a dog walking park. Dogs are not allowed! So take Fido elsewhere for a jaunt.

This valley bottom park surrounds the south end of Swan Lake with pastoral rolling grasslands flanked by forested hills and a spectacular expansive skyscape of prairie-style blue sky above.

It’s 360 degrees of panoramic jaw-dropping scenery.

Some of the best bird watching in B.C. is here at the lake and its surrounding wetlands.

It’s a breeding, nesting and migration haven for ducks, waterfowl, marsh birds and more.

The rolling grasslands rising up from the wetlands create rich habitats for even more wildlife including amphibians, reptiles and small mammals.

Raptors (birds of prey) frequently hunt here.

And our Great Blue Herons, which nest in the last remaining cluster of large, old cottonwoods standing in Vernon’s commercial area, hunt for snakes, frogs, fish and insects at Swan Lake. You can spot their massive nests, especially during the leafless winter and spring. So look up and look around when you’re here.

The North Okanagan Naturalist Club (NONC) has recently kindly built an impressive observation tower along the trail. Interpretive signs inside help identify your sightings. Three interpretive signs, also along the gentle two-kilometre loop trail, describe the wildlife species and ecology and recount the area’s history.

The lake itself, and the shoreline up to the high watermark, is a provincial Wildlife Management Area because of its importance for migratory and breeding birds. The marsh area is owned by Ducks Unlimited Canada. RDNO manages the entire property and NONC is a steward. NONC members are involved in preserving and restoring this valuable lake and marshland area.

To get there drive north on Old Kamloops Road. About 2.3 kilometres from the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Alexis Park Drive, turn right at Swan Lake Regional Park signage at Stawn’s Honey, then follow the gravel road 0.7 km to the trailhead parking area.

Check out nonc.ca then choose nature spots for a great photo of the new observation tower and list of other superb natural hotspots around Vernon. Enjoy!

P.S. – Look to see who wrote and designed the signs.

Roseanne Van Ee enthusiastically shares her knowledge of the outdoors to help readers experience and enjoy nature. Discover exciting and adventurous natural events, best trails, and wild places. Follow her on Facebook.

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