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Birding companion for Vancouver / Vancouver Island

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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 14:01   #1
katastrofa
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Birding companion for Vancouver / Vancouver Island

I'm looking for a birding trip companion in Vancouver / Vancouver Island area in the first week of December 2019. I'd be happy to cover the fuel costs etc.
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 15:31   #2
BryanP
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Hello Katastrofa

Hopefully others will chime in soon. The Vancouver lower mainland was my patch for many years but unfortunately I'm less familiar with Vancouver Island so will refrain from commenting on that.
You say you are looking for companions so you might try Birding Pals http://birdingpal.org/britishc.htm as there is a long list of “pals” in the lower mainland as well as a goodly part of Vancouver island. I've had some moderate success with it but you do take your chances with the personalities. You could also contact the Vancouver Audubon Society as perhaps one of their members may want to jump on your offer or at least make a few suggestions.

You don't say in your post whether you know the Vancouver area or not but for now I will assume you don't. If you do know the area well please forgive the presumption and feel free to ignore the following blather.

Here's a short partial list of some of my favourite spots in the Vancouver lower mainland.

Riefel bird sanctuary.
The raptor, wading and waterfowl birding can be gratifying there to say the least. Crisp clear and cold days seems to be good for seeing plenty of all three. In one short morning alone I saw 5 hawk species, 3 falcon species and 4 owl species to say nothing of the Bald Eagles and the two dozen or so water fowl species. The huge Snow Geese flocks have been known to put on a pretty good show. Sandhill Cranes winter there and can be disconcertingly tame.

Cypress mountain trails
Located in West Vancouver and is pretty good for Sapsuckers, Grey and Stellars Jays, Pine Grosbeaks, Crossbills, Ravens, Golden Eagles, and the Blue Grouse which I think now have a brand new name.

Queen Elizebeth Park
Plenty of wintering over Passerines, Annas Hummingbirds, Owls and small raptors. For a mostly manicured park it still can be very productive especially the day after a storm.

Jericho Park.
Been a while but when I was a regular it was one of the few central city parks that wasn't manicured. The park manager wished it to remain in its original state. So lots of passerines in the underbrush and meadows as well as a couple of ponds for wintering waterfowl and their attendant raptors.

Maplewood Flats
North Vancouver, shorebirds, waders, waterfowl raptors and Passerines, no dogs allowed past the bridge, good for the birds. Still doesn't stop dog owners getting sniffy about it being the generally entitled group they are.

Colony Farm
Couquitlum, seems to have come into being by managing to stay a farm in the middle of a development and is happily now a reserve. Great place, lots of Passerines and raptors.

Of course there are many more but these a few to be getting on with. One suggestion I would make if I may is try to avoid any of these places on the weekends. Vancouverites are reasonably outdoorsy and they can get busy at those times. Weekdays are best and you can often find you have almost the whole place to yourself.
I always enjoyed winter birding in Vancouver and do miss it.


So there you go, some free advice ;-) Thanks for the chance to go down memory lane.
Cheers,
Bryan
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 15:45   #3
katastrofa
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Thanks for the tips! I did get some response from Birding Pals about Vancouver, less so about Vancouver Island. Except for Reifel, I didn't know about the areas you mentioned, and some of them are so close to the downtown area that I should not have any problems seeing them :)
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 15:48   #4
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This is a great local group. You may try contacting them. They also have a facebook page.
https://www.langleyfieldnaturalists.org/

Another resource.
https://birding.bc.ca/
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 15:59   #5
katastrofa
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Thanks!
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 16:39   #6
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Katastrofa
Since you will be there in December perhaps you can find a group doing their CBC for their area, those are always fun and interesting. Also Colony farm has a fairly extensive banding program but I'm not sure how active they are in the winter. You could ask.

I've done plenty of raptor birding in the streets of Vancouver as a fair few species have re established populations. Sharp-shinned, Coopers, Peregrines, Sparrow Hawks not to mention eagles.
Just at the entrance to Stanley park along the seawall was a giant Elm tree that had a Blue Heron rookery with hundreds of nests. About ten years ago a group of Bald eagles decimated the rookery so the survivors moved elsewhere. They may have moved back since and were often seen there outside of the breeding season.
If you find yourself in east Vancouver ask around if anyone knows where Canuck the Crow is at the moment. Nice story about him online. He's a big celebrity in BC and is a YouTube star so if your lucky you could get his autograph ;-)
Enjoy!
Cheers,
Bryan
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 17:21   #7
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Hi Katastrofa,

I am living just north of Victoria since January this year. I am an absolute beginner in birding and mainly started because I got fascinated by how different birds are here compared to Europe (I lived in Germany and Switzerland before).

You will just miss the CBC in Victoria (will be on the 14th of Dec.), but the Victoria NHS also has weekly Birding Events open for guests. I never joined one of them, but its on my list since a couple of months. It also seems that there is a CBC "warm-up" on Dec. 7.

You can find the dates here:
http://www.vicnhs.bc.ca/?page_id=1518

Another nice spot in December is the Goldstream Provincial Park. You should be able to see the end of the Salmon run, and its therefore almost guaranteed that you will see plenty of bald eagles, american dippers and so on. Other nice spots are Island View Beach, Sooke Park, Esquimalt Lagoon, but you need to have a car for those. Easier to reach spots in Victoria itself are Swan Lake and Cattle Point.

If you send me a message we could discuss going to an NHS walk or driving to Goldstream together.

Best,
Jan Paul

Last edited by JanD : Saturday 9th November 2019 at 17:25.
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 19:24   #8
katastrofa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryanP View Post
Katastrofa
Since you will be there in December perhaps you can find a group doing their CBC for their area, those are always fun and interesting. Also Colony farm has a fairly extensive banding program but I'm not sure how active they are in the winter. You could ask.

I've done plenty of raptor birding in the streets of Vancouver as a fair few species have re established populations. Sharp-shinned, Coopers, Peregrines, Sparrow Hawks not to mention eagles.
Just at the entrance to Stanley park along the seawall was a giant Elm tree that had a Blue Heron rookery with hundreds of nests. About ten years ago a group of Bald eagles decimated the rookery so the survivors moved elsewhere. They may have moved back since and were often seen there outside of the breeding season.
If you find yourself in east Vancouver ask around if anyone knows where Canuck the Crow is at the moment. Nice story about him online. He's a big celebrity in BC and is a YouTube star so if your lucky you could get his autograph ;-)
Enjoy!
Cheers,
Bryan
Thanks :) I heard about Canuck the Crow, he's a star!
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 19:24   #9
katastrofa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanD View Post
Hi Katastrofa,

I am living just north of Victoria since January this year. I am an absolute beginner in birding and mainly started because I got fascinated by how different birds are here compared to Europe (I lived in Germany and Switzerland before).

You will just miss the CBC in Victoria (will be on the 14th of Dec.), but the Victoria NHS also has weekly Birding Events open for guests. I never joined one of them, but its on my list since a couple of months. It also seems that there is a CBC "warm-up" on Dec. 7.

You can find the dates here:
http://www.vicnhs.bc.ca/?page_id=1518

Another nice spot in December is the Goldstream Provincial Park. You should be able to see the end of the Salmon run, and its therefore almost guaranteed that you will see plenty of bald eagles, american dippers and so on. Other nice spots are Island View Beach, Sooke Park, Esquimalt Lagoon, but you need to have a car for those. Easier to reach spots in Victoria itself are Swan Lake and Cattle Point.

If you send me a message we could discuss going to an NHS walk or driving to Goldstream together.

Best,
Jan Paul
Thanks Jan! I will send you a PM.
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