The Okanagan is a wonderful place to call home. We get to enjoy the sunshine, the natural setting and the wildlife. Is it really our fate to not appreciate what we have until it’s gone? Do we have to lose a family member due to a speeding reckless driver or only be able to see a bluebird in a book?
Driving to Vernon via Old Kamloops Rd near Stawn’s Honey one afternoon, I was delighted to see one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen. It was an incredible bright yellow with orange patches. The colours were so intense, the bird was hard to miss. I felt privileged to have seen this wonder.
Two days later driving the same road, I saw the same bird, lying dead on the side of the road. I stopped and took the bird to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre where I was informed that it was a Bullock’s Oriole.
They told me they had just had another two brought in that had been found dead, hit by a car. Dismayed, we continued our travels along Commonage Road towards Predator Ridge where I spotted a turtle trying to cross the road amid speeding cars. We stopped the car, jumped out, grabbed the turtle and, with the help of another couple that happened to be visiting there, transported the turtle back to the pond.
We watched as the turtle swam away, unaware how close it was to losing its life. Driving slowly away, we saw another two turtles and a marmot that had not made it. We regularly stop to enjoy the beauty of Rose’s Pond and this occurrence was very disturbing to me. As disturbing as that the city allowed the turtle habitat to be further endangered by the construction of a facility where large trucks regularly travel on a now paved road right through the middle of the turtles’ historic egg laying area.
Cars were speeding by, well over the limit, even though there is a sign on the north side warning that this is a turtle crossing.
Why, by the way, is there no sign south of the turtle habitat? Not that it seems to make much difference. Some drivers even blasted their horn at me, although I was well off the road. Few of these drivers decreased the speed of their vehicles. Not for me, nor the turtles, and this is not an isolated incident. Every time we visit, we encounter the same disregard.
The Okanagan is active with creatures nesting and having babies. Anyone with a heart would do what they could to help and protect them. Is it possible that so many people here are so cold blooded they do not care about anything other than themselves? Maybe when they lose a mother, a brother, their pet dog, to a reckless driver. Maybe?