Birding in British Columbia

A starting place for birding information for British Columbia, Canada. This web site features a birders discussion forum, links to birding newsgroups, articles and book reviews, checklists, regional hotspots, photo gallery, weather reports, and visiting birder information.
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 Post subject: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 07 2:39 pm 
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Hi - we've visited BC in past but not for a while, and only once since we got into birding 15 years ago. We will fly into either Calgary or Kelowna and take 2 1/2 weeks including Vancouver Island (Pacific Rim & Up-island to visit a friend near Comox). We plan other activities too (some wine, enjoying scenery, visiting interesting small towns plus a few days each in Vancouver & Victoria), but of course will be mixing birding into and between these activities. Active couple in our 60's, short to moderate hikes OK. Just starting to research our route and accommodations and birding Hot Spots will come into play.


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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 08 1:10 am 
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Location: Victoria
Hi Mat,

Welcome to the forums. Aug/Sept is a great time to visit BC for both weather and birding. Fall migration should be in full swing at that time. My first tip, being a Victoria resident, is to find a tour that will take you out on the water. Gulls of all species should be in abundance around the Victoria waterfront with the possible pelican or jaeger in the area. I recall the waters around Victoria teaming with all kinds of gulls and seabirds as well as a spattering of both resident and southern migration shorebirds. BC Ferries is a cheap birding cruise but if you can swing it, a sailing tour or intimate nature cruise will give you those up and those close looks.

For shorebirds, Boundary Bay in Delta should have the lion's share of shorebird activity. Other members know more than myself for the fall Vancouver hot spots.

As with fall migration, the hot spots on the island tend to be at southern edges of land points. Speaking again of Victoria, birds are funneled to the southern tip of the island and pause here before crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Its a good region to discover a rare bird.

Ask us questions and I am sure members will provide some assistant.

Good Birding,

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Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC


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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 08 10:08 am 
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hi
I had to check what I wrote on Trip Advisor about your trip so I would not repeat stuff (-:
I will try to cover the south Okanagan
There is a good birding book for the area http://southokanagannature.com/south/ok ... /113-Books It is a great layout; in full colour; it has good instructions of how to get there. It is great value.
Most of the birding spots are along paved roads so it will not be a problem with a rental car as most will not allow travel on gravel roads.
You may find that at Vaseux Lake in August the walkway will be overgrown; signs about poison ivy and lots of bugs, but across the road which shows up at Dutton Creek Road on google but sign says McIntyre Creek Road you should find some California Bighorn sheep. There is a flock of chukar in the rocks but they are very elusive. The road is not paved but in good condition if you only go up to the first cattle guard.
https://goo.gl/maps/JrLKov1Yzzx and streetview https://goo.gl/maps/3mBJTUWJZXU2
Haines Prov Park in Osoyoos usually has something.
The White Lake Road has the Dominion Radio Observatory and a dry lake bed where there are meadowlarks but really hard to spot in the sagebrush. There are 3-4 access roads to get to White Lake the one from Okanagan Falls that goes by the See Ya Later Ranch winery with a great valley viewpoint has a Green Lake just past the winery. It usually has birds but not sure in late August has it could be dry or little water. There is only one place to stop along Green Lake https://goo.gl/maps/SitA42uAPmt and https://goo.gl/maps/Geqh9KDEEHC2
I keep track of sightings with monthly albums in Flickr - https://flic.kr/s/aHskhn7gSG
The Osprey have nests on man made platforms located throughout the valley; the one at the Penticton Airport is one that is easy to get at and they are used to the traffic.

For the Kelowna area it will depends on what you decide about flying into Calgary or into Kelowna. Generally I default to Keith for Kelowna sightings https://www.flickr.com/photos/8666250@N02/ Keith also follows this forum.
I did a route between Vernon and Penticton for birders from TO who are coming in June which I can share if you decide to start in Calgary and do not want to stay in Kelowna as you mentioned on your TA posts.

I have a trip to the coast planned for next month. What i found is that with 3 full days if I stay in White Rock or Tsawassen i can cover: the White Rock Pier; Blackie Spit; Boundary Bay; the Heron Rookery at the ferry terminal; George C Reifel Centre and Steveston all places that I have seen from following locals posts and their pictures on Flickr. So maybe we both will benefit if we get comments about the plan that I have.
https://goo.gl/maps/EN528coXdER2

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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 08 10:59 am 
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Thank you Kevin and Conrad (and future posters with additional tips). I will get my books and maps spread around me this weekend to start planning in earnest.

I would also appreciate tips on nice places to stay while birding and doing our other planned activities (location & actual accommodation suggestions). We don't mind staying somewhere centralized to several activities allowing for daytrips of up to, say, a couple hours drive each way.

Past 2 visits to Victoria (last one 12 years ago) we stayed on Inner Harbour but I'm interested in locations on the waterfront/ocean if anyone can suggest good spots, convenient for restaurants and also scenic with some birding/walking nearby (we can drive to Inner Harbour for a walkabout one day instead of staying there this time).

Also places to stay in/near Osoyoos and Nelson (Conrad I believe you made some general comments on latter in your other post). And should we stay in Kelowna - or is it too Big City like (which we'll get enough of in Vancouver and Victoria) e.g. are there other options still central to Wine Country and scenic without being too isolated. Thanks much!


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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 08 12:32 pm 
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Location: Victoria
In Victoria, I am going to suggest the Howard Johnson at Elk lake as your base of operations:
https://www.google.ca/maps/search/hotel ... ,12z?hl=en

At this location, you are about as central as you can get for the Victoria, Sidney, Langford areas, each of which are 20-25min away at most. Elk Lake Park is right up the road (forest and lake species, nice cool forest walks if the weather is hot), Rithet's bog is across the highway. Good eats around, including the HoJo for breakfast.

Victoria breakwater, waterfront, Clover Point and in Sidney, BC, the Pier off Lochside Dr. are probably the better locations for shore viewing seabirds. Personally, I enjoy Sidney as a place to stroll the afternoon, browse shops, and then drive a little south on Lochside dr. to scan Bazen bay to see what's around. Between Sidney and the HoJo there are many good birding locations such are Beaver/Elk Lake, Island View Beach, Martindale Flats (the farm fields), Todd Inlet, Durrance Lake. For more of a west coast forest experience, 15 min away is Francis King Park, 25 min away is GoldStream Provincial Park. 10min south is Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary.

For fall migration, one spot that can be exceptional given the right conditions is the Hawk Watch in East Sooke park. http://www.birding.bc.ca/regions/victor ... kwatch.php

Cheers, Kevin


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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 08 1:26 pm 
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Location: Pitt Meadows
I would suggest purchasing "Birdfinding in British Columbia" by Russell & Richard Cannings. It will provide you great information on all the areas you plan to visit.

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Larry Cowan
Pitt Meadows


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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 08 1:32 pm 
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Location: Pitt Meadows
Another great resource is eBird. Bar charts can be run for many of the areas you may consider visiting. These charts will provide you an idea of what you should expect to see at the time of year you are visiting.

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Larry Cowan
Pitt Meadows


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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 08 7:06 pm 
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Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Hello Mat!

I live in the Okanagan and can give you an in depth look at the birding in scene in my valley at that time of year. I may be around at that time of year so I actually may be able to take you birding around the valley if you'd like. I can correspond with you via email - would you mind sending me your email address via private message?

Thanks and look forward to hearing from you!

Logan - Kelowna, B.C.

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 Post subject: Re: BC Road Trip late Aug/Sept Ontario birder seeking tips
PostPosted: Mar 11 9:21 am 
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Super, thanks everyone. I will order the Bird Books suggested, get out to buy some maps today, spread these plus all your information and my borrowed Guidebooks around and start planning a route. Then start checking out the accommodations and availability especially those suggested - which will help me firm up dates. And thank you Logan, once I get a bit more organized around dates etc., I will be in touch, appreciate your help.


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