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Old Wednesday 7th March 2007, 17:48   #1
rachk116
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Vancouver and Vancouver Island Information wanted

Hi,

I'm looking at going to Vancouver and Vancouver Island next year. Could anyone provide any advice as to when is the best time to go, any useful site information and any books that may be of use, either site guides or field guides.

We are looking at basing ourselves in Vancouver for a few days at either end of a fortnight and then taking a trip to Vancouver island and maybe into the Rockies on the train trips. Are there any bird guides out there that take people out for day trips or for longer?

Also, we are looking at trying to see whales while we are there. Does anyone know of any good boat trips?

Hope someone can help,

Rachel
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2007, 19:59   #2
JeffMoh
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Vancouver

Stanley Park in Vancouver itself is fantastic in the winter. We were there in January a few years ago and were blown away by the variety of ducks - and by how close you could get to them. The park had lots of other birds, too.

There is an excellent wildlife refuge just south of the city. Sorry I can't remember the name but someone else is sure to tell us. We had excellent views of Bald Eagles and Great Horned Owl, plus lots of ducks, geese, wading birds etc. My wife was thrilled that Wood Ducks ate out of her hand!

Jeff
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2007, 21:57   #3
Robert / Seattle
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Vancouver and Pacific Northwest:

Hi Rachel,
Living in neighboring Washington State I know Vancouver and B.C. quite well. A lot of the answers to your inquiry can be more easily addressed if I knew what time of year you plan to visit, and if your budget is, well, low - medium - or high.
I might suggest that any trip to the region include a visit to Olympic National Park on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Designated a World Heritage Sight by UNESCO the park is a huge naturalist's paradise, encompassing environments from wilderness coastline (great sea birds, by the way), temperate rainforests and glacier-clad alpine peaks.

Also, there are many whale watching tours, mostly for Orcas, in Washington's San Juan Islands (within sight of Victoria, B.C. - so it doesn't really matter what side of the border you stay on for that one). Peak season for this is July/August.

And lastly, for now, I have a significant number of friends who work in British Columbia tourism - so if no-one from BC gets back to you from the forum send me an email at:
pisano "at" nwlink.com - I'll be happy to send you some names and such off-forum.

Feel free to call when you arrive - we're only 2 1/2 hours away. Good luck!

Last edited by Robert / Seattle : Wednesday 7th March 2007 at 21:59.
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2007, 23:50   #4
Westward
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Hi Rachel. I think the Wildlife refuge south of Vancouver that Jeff referred to may be the George Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It is on Westham Island just outside of Ladner. No matter what time of year you go you will see a variety of birds, different ones at different times of the year. There are Sandhill Cranes that have taken up almost permanent residence and Black Crowned night Herons. They give a guided walking tour each Sunday at 10:00. I absolultely love going there, last Sunday the fields close to the sanctuary were filled with thousands of snow geese and many swans.
Along Boundary Bay dike just south on 72 Ave there is a very important bird area where the snowy owls are from mid December to early March. Many Bald eagles and Short eared owls are there as well.
There are whale watching tours every day in July and August from the main harbor in downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island. You just have to go check when they have one going out and sign up. You will not only see different whales but about 3 or 4 different kind of seals.

Linda
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Old Thursday 8th March 2007, 01:30   #5
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Rachel,
Another good resource for birding sites in that area is Birding in British Columbia .

They also reference a bird finding guide that might be useful.
Good luck,
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Old Friday 9th March 2007, 01:43   #6
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Recently I have been in August. The birding was wonderful, even though not exactly in migration.

Vancouver: Stanley Park was not too interesting birdwise (Bald Eagle, Bushtit, one Am. Wigeon on the Lost Lagoon)
Iona Island (by the airport): amazing! Baird's Sandpiper, Marsh Wren, tons of shorebirds
Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary (south of Vancouver): Red-necked Phalarope, Wilson's Phalarope, Pectoral Sandpiper

Victoria (on the island): Ogden Point (Black Turnstone, Wandering Tatler last summer!)
East Sooke Regional park (west) (Great Horned Owl by chance)
Tofino (on the island. tough to book nights at): Bald Eagles all over the place, Tufted Puffins and all other expected alcids from whale watch (I used Ocean Outfitters very friendly, but only Jamie's has a large vessel, i.e. 60 feet) + Black Oystercatcher and Brandt's Cormorant very easy (check Nanaimo on Vancouver Island for them too)

Salt Spring Island (Can): California Quail

San Juan Island (US): Golden eagle by chance, Harlequin Duck

There's my messy 2 cents.
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2007, 05:49   #7
borealowl47
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birding in british columbia

Hi Rachel,

I just was came back from Vancouver Island in March.Birded for four days in Victoria.Got 82 species including 23 lifers.I got great imformation from local birders who post messages on Yahoogroups forums.Check out these groups there, bcintbird,bcvanbirds and bcvibirds.If you want more specific information
email me at, voljun07 'at' yahoo.ca

darrell neufeld
winnipeg ,manitoba
.








Quote:
Originally Posted by rachk116
Hi,

I'm looking at going to Vancouver and Vancouver Island next year. Could anyone provide any advice as to when is the best time to go, any useful site information and any books that may be of use, either site guides or field guides.

We are looking at basing ourselves in Vancouver for a few days at either end of a fortnight and then taking a trip to Vancouver island and maybe into the Rockies on the train trips. Are there any bird guides out there that take people out for day trips or for longer?

Also, we are looking at trying to see whales while we are there. Does anyone know of any good boat trips?

Hope someone can help,

Rachel
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Old Sunday 5th August 2007, 18:31   #8
screaming piha
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Are there any bird-orientated pelagic trips from Vancouver or elsehwere in that part of Canada?

If not, would a visitor see much in the way of seabirds from whale watching boat trips in August?

Many thanks
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Old Wednesday 17th October 2007, 05:30   #9
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Vancouver Island

I am a British birder now living on Vancouver Island, the sites you have been recomended are excellent if you want any specific info on species or places to go feel free to contact me.

Cheers
Pete
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Old Saturday 20th October 2007, 23:09   #10
rachk116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffhanger View Post
I am a British birder now living on Vancouver Island, the sites you have been recomended are excellent if you want any specific info on species or places to go feel free to contact me.

Cheers
Pete
Thanks Pete, may take you up on the offer in the future. Plans have had to be put on hold at the moment but it will definitely be a place we come to eventually.
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Old Tuesday 30th October 2007, 22:05   #11
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Are there any bird-orientated pelagic trips from Vancouver or elsehwere in that part of Canada?

If not, would a visitor see much in the way of seabirds from whale watching boat trips in August?

Many thanks
Hi,
We went out on an ostensibly whale watching trip in August from Tofino a few years ago and made it clear to the operator that we were really interested in birds. He went out of his way to show us seabirds after the whale watching area was behind us and we had amazing views of Tufted Puffins,Rhinoceros Auklets etc but were unable to find a specifically birding pelagic there.Fortunately we spent some time with my mate`s brother in Powell River on the mainland and he had access to a boat so we had other trips and free into the bargain.
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Old Tuesday 30th October 2007, 22:17   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelquasar View Post
Hi,
We went out on an ostensibly whale watching trip in August from Tofino a few years ago and made it clear to the operator that we were really interested in birds. He went out of his way to show us seabirds after the whale watching area was behind us and we had amazing views of Tufted Puffins,Rhinoceros Auklets etc but were unable to find a specifically birding pelagic there.Fortunately we spent some time with my mate`s brother in Powell River on the mainland and he had access to a boat so we had other trips and free into the bargain.
As you said , Tofino whale watching trips do NOT usually encounter true pelagics. I used Ocean Outfitters, and their itinerary included a stop to a puffiny rock NW of Tofino town. The sudden appearance of a Gray Whale forced us to skip the spot. Several Sooty Shearwaters were seen from the boat as it followed the whale south just offshore. After the chase, we found a frenzy of feeding birds, which included California, Heermann's and Glaucous-winged Gulls, and Comme Murres, Rhinoceras Auklets and 2 Tufted Puffins.
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Old Tuesday 30th October 2007, 22:33   #13
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You should see some peregrines downtown, look up on the tops of buildings around the West Georgia and Burrard area, atop the Hyatt was their favorite place all last Autumn through to Winter. Bald Eagles poitively rife around Stanley Park and Kitsilano, Stanley park for Red Tails and Pileated Woodpeckers. Almost certain to see an Osprey around Pitt Meadows too.

With regards to boat trips; I took the inside passage (summer only) from Port Hardy on north Van Island up to Prince Rupert. Grey whales, dolphins and Orcas were spotted on a brilliant, if very wet, trip. It takes 16 hours or so each way and takes you through some of the most beautiful country on earth.
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