How we got there: Charter flight Paris - London - Reykjavik - Vancouver (12 h !!).
Rental Cars : we rented a camper.
Weather: The weather was fine, with numerous sunshine hours all the days except near Tofino where it rains all day.
July 31 : Richmond and Sea Island (Great Vancouver)
August 1 : Surrey and Manning Park
August 2 : Princeton, Keremoes, Osooyos, Gallagher Lake
August 3 : Gallagher Lake, Vaseux Lake, Princeton
August 4 : Manning Park, Hope
August 5 : Hope, Horseshoe Bay (boat to Vancouver I.), Nanaimo, Port Alberni
August 6 : Port Alberni, Pacific Rim National Parc (Long Beach), MacKenzie Beach (Tofino)
August 7 : Tofino harbour (big storm !!)
August 8 : MacKenzie Beach, Long Beach, Buckley Bay, Royston, Cumberland, Courtenay
August 9 : Cumberland (Old Chinatown ponds), Nanaimo
August 10 : Sooke (French Beach), Jordan River, Port Renfrew (harbour)
August 11 : Port Renfrew (Botanical Beach, Marina)
August 12 : Port Renfrew (Marina), Jordan River, Saanish (Saanichton Bay)
August 13 : Saanish (Saanichton Bay, Swan Lake, Mount Douglas Park)
August 14 : Saanichton Bay, boat to Vancouver, Iona Island
August 15 : Reiffel Refuge, Iona Island
August 16 : Vancouver (Stanley Park), Burnaby Lake
August 17 : Burnaby Lake
August 18 : Burnaby Lake
August 19 : Richmond (Richmond Nature Park)
August 20 : Richmond (city), Sea Island
Principal sites description
A) On the Mainland
Richmond (Great Vancouver) :
- Uncultivated lands and suburbia along Bridgeport Road.
- Richmond Nature Park, small forest patch with numerous footpaths and a pond with two aquatic turtle species.
Sea Island (Great Vancouver) :Right bank of the Fraser River southern arm. Suburbia with main roads, industrial area ; narrow scrubby waterside forest.
Surrey (Great Vancouver) Suburbia in a coniferous forest on a hill and agricultural area (grassland and bluets) in lowlands.
Manning Park : On the Highway 3, between Hope and Princeton. Old coniferous forests with very big trees. Lakes, footpathes, ponds. Many flowers (Tiger Lily). Mammals are numerous.
Princeton : Similkameen River banks, near the town. Narrow waterside forest on contact with residential and industrial areas. Dry coniferous forest easily walking. Numerous squirrels.
Keremeos : Stop on a parking 3 or 4 km west of the town, near the Similkameen River. Agricultural areas, heaths, cliff.
Galagher Lake, in the Okanagan Valley : We recommend the KOA campsite, at the foot of a cliff, in a forest and near the Gallagher Lake.
Vaseux Lake : It is an Hot Spot for twitchers (birders ). We walk in two areas
- Nord-East bank of the lake. Beautiful waterside forest, reed bed, mosquitoes...
- semidesertic hills East of the lake.
Warning : Poison Ivy is a very abundant plant.
Sunshine Valley (Hope) : Wetlands near the road
Hope (left bank of the Fraser River). Narrow waterside forest. The river is wide with muddy islets. Agricultural lands (grassland). Resinous forest on hills with small cliffs.
Iona Island (Great Vancouver) : mouth of the Fraser River, intertidal areas, sewage works ponds
Reifel Refuge (Great Vancouver) : vast wetlands managed for birds and tourists.
Stanley Park (Vancouver) : more than 500 ha of forest, lakes and ponds in the city. The sea borders the park on the 3/4 of the perimeter. Numerous footpaths.
Burnaby Lake (Great Vancouver) : Faune refuge. Long lake with a footpath around (± 10 km). varied forests, swamps, reed beds...
B) Vancouver Island
Nanaimo (avoid at times of ferries arrivals !!) : - Long Like. Touristic area - Buttertubs Marsch Bird Sanctuary. Marsh with birding installations.
Port Alberni : - campsite and surrounding area. Suburbia with forest patches.
- Marina Pond. Small pond near the road
- Port Alberni Refuge. Wetland in an industrial area
- Long Beach. Long beach with rocky islets. Small pond.
- MacKenzie Beach. Small beach with rocky headlands and nice forest :
Royston : suburbia on the mouth of a small river. Muddy areas.
Cumberland :ponds in forest.
Jordan River : vast bay at the Jordan River mouth. Dry forest. One of the better sites.
Sooke French Beach. Small beach with rocky headlands.
Port Renfrew :
- The Marina. Mouth of a river. Quiet campsite with many fishermen. Dry forest.
- Botanical Beach. Bay without beach with fossil trees.
Saanish : - Saanichton Bay. Indian reservation. Beautiful beach, muddy areas, ponds, dry forest, large scrubby area.
- Sawn Lake. Birds refuge, but there are a lot of people.
- Mount Douglas Park. Hill near the town. Astonishing view at summit. Go on foot rather than in car.
Sites selection : Manning Park, Hope, Iona Island, Stanley Park, Tofino, Jordan River and Saanichton Bay.
Common Loon Gavia immer : Common on Vancouver Island coasts. August 10 : 8 in front of Jordan River. Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica : 1 imm. August 10, in front of Jordan River. Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena : August 8, 27 together Saanichton Bay. Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps : Seen all over lakes and marshes. Pulli August 8 Cumberland, August 9 Nanaimo and August 17 Burnaby Lake. Brandt's Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus : Adult, August 8, Horseshoe Bay. Numerous other Cormorants not determinated are probably this species. Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus : Any data all over the coasts. Common in Vancouver area. Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus : 40 more, August 12, Saanichton Bay. Colony with pulli, August 16, Stanley Park, Vancouver. Green-backed Heron Butorides striatus : 1, August 13, Swan Lake, Saanisch. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias : Common all over. Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis : 1 (domestic ?) in Reiffel Refuge. Canada Goose Branta canadensis : Very common all over. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos : present in all wetlands. Gadwall Anas strepera : common in Vancouver area. Iona Island, August 14, 6 + 7 pulli. 19 flying, August 8, Buckley Bay. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca carolinensis : August 15 : 123, Iona Island. Also in Reiffel Refuge and Manning Park. Northern Pintail Anas acuta : August 11 : 2 at sea, Botanical Beach. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata : August 14 : 2 Iona Island. Blue-winged Teal Anas discors : August 15, 2 Reiffel refuge. Wood Duck Aix sponsa : only in the parks of Vancouver. Very common Burnaby Lake. Canvasback Aythya valisineria : 1, Stanley Park, August 16. Greater Scaup Aythya marila : male, August 10, Jordan River. Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis : August 15, 8 Iona Island. August 16, 3 Stanley Park. Black Scoter Melanitta nigra : August 8, 11 Buckley Bay. This species is rare in summer. White-winged Scoter Melanitta fusca : Common at sea, Vancouver Island. Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata : Common at sea, Vancouver Island. August 10, 25 Port Renfrew harbour. Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus : August 3, 4 Similkameen River near Princeton (probably breeding). August 11, 1 at sea Botanical Beach. Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula : August 4, 1 Sunshine Valley (Hope) and 3 Manning Park. Common Merganser Mergus merganser : Common. August 6, 21 Port Alberny. Pulli : August 5, 5 Hope ; August 10, 3 Jordan River. Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus : August 4, female with 3 juv. Manning Park. Sora Porzana carolina : August 8, adult Cumberland. American Coot Fulica americana : Ever numerous but widespread. Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani : August 6, 3 MacKenzie Bay. August 16, 1 Stanley Park. Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus : Common along coasts. 2 youngs Long Beach, August 6. Killdeer Charadrius vociferus : All over on beach and muddy coasts. Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola : August 8, 3 Long Beach and 1 Royston. August 13, 1 Saanichton Bay. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus : August 10, 1 Jordan River. August 12, 1 Saanichton Bay. Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca : 20 more, August 15, Reiffel Refuge. Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes : 50 more, August 15, Reiffel Refuge. Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia : widespread but not common. Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus : 30 more, August 15, Reiffel Refuge. Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus : 10 more, August 15, Reiffel Refuge. July 31, 1 Sea Island. August 10, 1 Jordan River. Black Turnstone Arenaria melanocephala : August 6, 38 MacKenzie Beach. Surfbird Aphriza virgata : August 6, 3 MacKenzie Beach with Turnstones. Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla : August 10, 1 more Jordan River. Dunlin Calidris alpina : August 6, 6 Long Beach. Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri : Common on the coasts. August 6, 60 more Long Beach. Difference with C. pusilla is not easy. Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla : very numerous. August 14, 1000 more Iona Island. Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos : August 15, 1 Iona Island. Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus : August 5, 1 at sea between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo. Rare here. Heermann's Gull Larus heermanni : August 8, adult Botanical Beach. Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan : Iona Island, August 14, 1 first summer and 2 August 15. Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia : common on the coasts. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis : only in Vancouver area. Mew Gull Larus canus : Only in Saanichton Bay, August 13 : 17. Herring Gull Larus argentatus : apparently rare. August 6, 6 Long Beach. California Gull Larus californicus : common on Vancouver Island coasts. Western Gull Larus occidentalis : 2 adults : August 6, MacKenzie Beach and August 7, Tofino harbour. Hybrids with the following species are numerous. Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens : very common. Common Tern Sterna hirundo : only 1, August 12 Saanichton Bay. Caspian Tern Sterna caspia : August 14, adult feeding 2 flying youngs. Common Murre Uria aalge : August 10, 1 French Beach (Sooke). Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus columba : common in front of Jordan River and in Saanichton Bay. Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus : common in front of Jordan River, less in Saanichton Bay. Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus : August 11, 3/4 Botanical Beach. Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata : August 10, 2 Jordan River. August 11, 1 Botanical Beach. Alcidae are very common, but determination is difficult because are often far for the coast. Bald Eagle Haliaetus leucocephalus : common all over the coasts. August 5, adult feeding 2 flying youngs Horseshoe Bay. Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus : August 14, 1 female Iona Island. Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus : August 8, Botanical Beach. Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii : fairly common. August 12, Saanichton Bay ; August 13 Sawn Lake ; August 15 Reiffel Refuge. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis : the more common Hawk on mainland. Rarer in Vancouver Island. Osprey Pandion haliaetus : Widespread. Nest, August 11, Port Renfrew. American Kestrel Falco sparvierus : fairly rare. Pair + 1 young, August 2, near Keremeos. August 14, 1 Iona Island. Merlin Falco columbarius : Seen only near wetlands. August 6, 1 Port Alberny. August 9, pair near Nanaimo. Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus : August 5, near Hope, an adult male feeding a young female (this species is rare in mainland interior). August 13, Saanichton bay, catching a Starling. Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus : August 9, 1 male alarming, Cumberland marshes. California Quail Callipepla californica : August 2/3, 6 adults Gallagher Lake campsite. August 12, 3 adults + 4 pulli Jordan River. Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus : pair + 3 pulli, July 31, Richmond. Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata : common Port Alberny and Burnaby. Rock Dove Columba livia : rock breeding Gallagher Lake. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura : not common. 2, August 1, Surrey. Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor : August 11, Port Renfrew. August 18, Burnaby. Black Swift Cypseloides niger : August 5, Port Alberny. Vaux's Swift Chaetura vauxi : widespread in small number. White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatilis : colonies at Gallagher Lake (± 15 birds) and Vaseux Lake (± 10). 1 vagrant, August 13, Mount Douglas Park (Saanish) is the second for Vancouver Island. Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna : August 12, Saanichton Bay campsite on bramble flowers. Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus rufus : 2, very aggressive, August 4, at a feeding site, Manning Park. Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon : widespread at sea and on rivers and lakes. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus cafer : widespread. Lewis' Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis : August 2, Gallagher Lake campsite, 2 adults feeding 1 flying young. Catch flying insects. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens : widespread. Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus : 2, Port Alberny, August 5. Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus : 1, Princeton, August 2 at very low altitude. Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus : 2, flying, Botanical Beach, August 11 and 2, feeding, Mount Douglas Park, August 13. The late seen 10 minutes, very nice. Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus : 5/6, Vaseux Lake, August 3 and 1, Burnaby Lake, August 17. Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis : rare. Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus borealis : August 5, Port Alberni. Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus : widespread and easy to deternine. Hammond's Flycatcher Empidonax hammondii : August 11, Botanical Beach. Western Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis : 1 more, August 18, Burnaby Lake. Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor : only Vancouver and South Vancouver island. Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina : widespread and common. Bank Swallow Riparia riparia : rarely seen. Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis : only Vancouver Island. Nest as Bank Swallow near Courtenay. Cliff Swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota : August 2, Osooyos, nest with pulli under a roof cornice. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica : common and widespread. Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri : common and widespread. Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis : 1, Port Renfrew, August 10. Clark's Nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana : Keremeos, Gallagher Lake, Manning Park. Very noisy. Black-billed Magpie Pica pica : rare. 1, Gallagher Lake, August 3. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos : not commun. Not present at coast. Northwestern Crow Corvus caurinus : only at coast. Very common, alsa in the towns. 500 more, August 18, Burnaby. Common Raven Corvus corax : widespread. Very common Manning Park and Princeton area. Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus : very common on mainland. 100 more along 10 km footpath, August 17, Burnaby Lake. Chestnut-backed Chickadee Parus rufescens : very common on Vancouver Island. Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus : common, moving in great parties. 30 more, Cumberland, August 9. 27 Burnaby, August 18. Brown Creeper Certhia americana : only Mount Douglas Park. Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis : widespread. Common in Mount Douglas Park. Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmea : Gallagher Lake, August 2. House Wren Troglodytes aedon : widespread on mainland. Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes : common in forests. Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii : only at the contact between forests and marshs. Family, August 17, Burnaby Lake. Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris : widespread in wetlands. Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus : Okanagan Valley cliffs. Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula : Richmond Nature Park. American Robin Turdus migratorius : common all over. Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis : only Vaseux Lake. Sage Thrasher Oreoscoptes montanus : a vagrant, Surrey near campsite OKA , August 1. Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum : common all over. Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatus : 2 adults + 2 youngs, Sea Island, August 20. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris : common in towns. Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus : very common. 5 more sigers, Burnaby Lake, August 17. Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata : common in bushy area. Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata : 4, MacKenzie Beach, August 6. Black-throated Grey Warbler Dendroica nigrescens : in bushs near Hope (riparian forest) and Port Alberni (gardens). Townsend's Warbler Dendroica townsendi : coniferous forests of vancouver Island. Yellow Warbler Debdroica petechia : widespread. MacGillivray's Warbler Oporornis tolmiei : very common. Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla : rare. Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis : only Vaseux Lake. Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas : common in wetlands. Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus : not common. Lazuli Bunting Passerina amoena : dry hills around Vaseux Lake. Rufous-sided Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus : very common. Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis : rarely seen. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia : common in all the wetlands. Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina : male singing, Port Renfrew, August 11. Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis : widespread but not very common. White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys : very common, especially in suburbia. Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca : this birds are very dark. Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta : 1, feeding, near Keremeos, August 2. Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus : especially in wetlands. Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus : Nanaimo and Reiffel Refuge. Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater : young fed by a pair of Song Sparrow, Reiffel refuge, August 19. Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana : only in the parks of Great Vancouver. House Sparrow Passer domesticus : common only in the great towns. Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus : common in Manning Park. American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis : widespread in open areas. Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra : widespread in small numbers. Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus : not common. House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus. common in towns. Sometimes in great parties : 42, Saanichton Bay, August 13.
Mammals (A Field Guide to the mammals, by William H. Burt and Richard P. Grossenheider)
Dusky Shrew Suncus obscurus : 1, Burnaby Lake, August 17.
Black Bear Ursus americanus : Marina of Port Renfrew, August 12, 1 adult eating berries.
Marten Martes americana : Vaseux Lake (August 3), 1 hunting Yellowbelly Marmots.
River Otter Lutra canadensis : very nice observations of a family (2 adults + 4 youngs) playing and fishing in Port Renfrew Marina harbour, August 11 and 12.
Sea Otter Enhydra lutris : a party of 5 in front of Jordan River, August 10.
Red Fox Vulpes fulva : August 2, between Manning Park and Princeton.
Northern Sea Lion Eumetopias jubatus : numerous on rocky islets in front of Long Beach (Pacific Rim National Park).
Harbor Seal Phoca vitulina : Jordan River and Saanichton Bay.
Yellowbelly Marmot Marmota flaviventris : small party, dry hills near Vaseux Lake.
Columbian Ground Squirrel Citellus columbianus : numerous in Manning Park. Very tame !
Yellow Pine Chipmunk Eutamias amoenus : widespread on mainland.
Eastern Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis : Stanley Park (Vancouver) where it was introduced.
Red Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus : common on Vancouver Island.
Chickaree Tamasciurus douglasi : Common and tame. Swimes very well. His call is very similar that the one of an European Black Swift.
Beaver Castor canadensis : only footprints and cut down trees...
Townsend Vole Microtus townsendi : 1, spited out by a snake, Saanichton Bay.
Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus : only in Vaseux Lake.
Norway Rat Rattus norvegicus : widespread. In Richmond Nature Park, we seen a cream-coloured.
Snowshoe Hare Lepus americanus : also in Vancouver Island (introduced ?).
Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus : Manning Park.
Moose Alces alces : 1 young killed by a car near Princeton.
Mountain Goat Oreamnos americanus : In a cliff near Keremeos, 1 adult + 1 kid, August 2.
Bighorn Sheep Ovis canadensis : several in two parties near Vaseux Lake, August 3.
Gray Whale Eschrichtius gibbosus : 1, near the coast, Botanical Beach, August 11.
Amphibians (A Field Guide to western Reptiles and Amphibians, by Robert C. Stebbins)
Spotted Frog Rana pretiosa : Manning Park.
Bullfrog Rana catesbeiana : Burnaby Lake.
Reptiles (A Field Guide to western Reptiles and Amphibians, by Robert C. Stebbins)
Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta : Stanley Park and Richmond Nature Park..
Red-bellied Turtlle Chrysemys rubriventris : Ricmond Nature Park (introduced).
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis : widespread in wetlands.
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake Thamnophis elegans : widespread in wetlands.
A birders guide to Vancouver Island (K. Taylor, 1990)
Let's look at Canada: Vancouver to the Rockies (An Ornitholidays Guide, n° 8)