A pair of wood ducks forage at Scout Island where the beautiful birds will soon be nesting.

A pair of wood ducks forage at Scout Island where the beautiful birds will soon be nesting.

Smart 55: Artist/naturalist never bored

Retired water biologist Kris Andrews is never bored.

Retired water biologist Kris Andrews is never bored.

There isn’t any time to be bored when you have developed passions for photography, printmaking, pottery, gardening, and birding to name just a few of her hobbies.

Andrews is a regular visitor to Scout Island with her camera and tripod quietly and patiently working to capture images of birds as they return each spring.

Unfortunately these days she is watching bald eagles feeding on the small coots that have taken refuge in the marsh.

The swans have come and gone to lakes further afield, but mallards and geese are already busy nesting.

She can hardly wait for the beautiful wood ducks to arrive.

She says friends at the south end of the lake have already spotted a loon and a wood duck so these birds should be arriving at Scout Island soon.

Andrews spotted a butterfly three weeks ago and Tuesday bees were buzzing around the fully formed primroses and the miniature orange tulips budding forth in her garden.

As spring unfolds dozens of other bird species will be arriving in the region and Andrews will be there to document their arrival.

One of the birds Andrews is monitoring in the Chilcotin Junction Important Bird Area along the banks of the Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers is the flammulated owl that arrives in late May.

The Williams Lake area is the farthest northern nesting area for this tiny owl that makes its home in the cavities of trees made by woodpeckers.

“I don’t have any photos of flammulated owls,” Andrews says. “Just a dream that someday I might get to see one in daylight and photograph it. We listen for them at night is how we monitor.”

She did see on fly from one tree to another against a dark evening sky once, but says that was it.

Andrews was the naturalist’s caretaker for the Chilcotin Junction Important Bird Area for about seven years but recently but recently turned the job over to Cathy Koot.

Andrews also has a route of bluebird nesting boxes in the Chilcotin which she cleans each spring as do other naturalists in the club.

She is also helping with a project to monitor the activities of golden eagles.

You might also find Andrews jogging along the trails at Scout Island or pulling noxious weeds in the area of the nature centre which butts up against human habitation.

Getting out in nature on hiking and birding trips with the Field Naturalists is also a great way to keep fit and see the region, she finds.

“I’m madly off in all directions,” says Andrews, whose art in printmaking is inspired by nature. “I’m never bored, that’s for sure, but housekeeping is not one of my madly off in all directions passions.”

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