Penticton Western News reader Mark Lawrence caught a group of American White Pelicans hanging out on Okanagan Lake in Trout Creek. Photo courtesy of Mark Lawrence

A rare sight

Penticton Western News reader Mark Lawrence caught a rare sighting of pelicans on Okanagan Lake

A Penticton Western News reader, Mark Lawrence, caught a rare sighting in Trout Creek recently.

Lawrence was out for a run in the rain when he saw a group of American White Pelicans. He said he made a mad dash home to get his camera and return to get this photo.

Margaret Holm, who has worked as the outreach co-ordinator for Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance for many years, said it is a rare but not necessarily unusual sight to see.

“Many people when they think of pelicans think they are exotic things, and they definitely don’t think they will see them inland. But yet, the pelicans can be found at a remote lake in the Chilcotin and every year they migrate to the Okanagan,” she said. “Sometimes you might see them on Skaha Lake too in a small group or clusters of 10 or so. You won’t believe your eyes and then they just disappear.”

Holm said she has seen them on Osoyoos Lake as well.

“According to the book, Birds of the Okanagan Valley by Richard Cannings and his brother, they usually arrive the second week of April and travel through the area until mid-May, so it appears they are right on track,” said Holm.

She added they are also sometimes spotted in the northern prairies.

“Some spend their winters in Mexico, some off the coast of California too — it is quite funny because there is this one little dot in B.C. that is unique that they visit.”

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