Birding in British Columbia
Young birds a plenty.
July is the month watch for the juveniles of all breeding species. This can be a confusing time as many young birds look nothing like there parents and often, they look like another species all together. One of the better clues to look for when observing a questionable bird at this time of year is to note whether the feathers look "fresh" or if they are more weathered and somewhat tattered. If they look fresh, chances are that you are observing a juvenile bird.
Now that the warmth of summer is here (as opposed to the unusual cold temperatures we experienced in June) many songbirds will quiet down, though some species are still singing on their breeding territory. Even now, the dawn chorus can still be enjoyable.
Recent sightings of Red Crossbill suggest that they may be more numerous this year then in previous years. Watch for crossbills when in forest and hilly areas around Greater Victoria.
Sky Larks will continue to sing on territory for the better part of July but as the weather warms up, they will quiet down and spend most of the day foraging and resting. The Victoria International Airport has been the best spot to observe Sky Larks this year. Scan the fields below Mills Rd. on the north side of the airport for this species.
Post breeding adult shorebirds begin migrating south and July is the best time to watch for these birds as most still retain their breeding plumage. Watch for semi-palmated sandpiper in flocks of least and western sandpipers. July is also the month for rare shorebirds as a number of rare and accedental species have been recorded at this time.
Heermann's Gull begin arriving and large flocks are known to gather at Clover Pt. and Tower Pt. As well, many individual birds can be seen from most viewpoints along the waterfront.
Try the hilly and mountain parks for a dawn chorus of warbler, vireos, and other summer residents. Look for shorebirds at Loon Bay (in Oak Bay), Clover Point, Esquimalt Lagoon, Witty's Lagoon, and Whiffin Spit.
Try a birding trip to Sidney Spit Provincial Park on Sidney Island. Besides the possible shorebirds, you will be treated to a number of Alcids and Cormorant species on the ride to and from the island.