Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Back In BC - 2016

It's been quite a while since I posted here but in the wake of a trip back to BC in May I thought it would be prudent to update the site!
For the second consecutive year I joined a group of birders from the UK for a two-week tour of the area. The trip was organised by Ribble Bird Tours and I was drafted in as itinerary planner / guide / driver / interpreter etc. As you can clearly see from the attached efforts I was not employed as a photographer... (pics taken using handheld snapper held up to my 'scope).
We flew out to Vancouver on Friday 20th May and returned on 5th June 2016.

Lewis's woodpecker
Our tour started with a couple of days in and around Manning Park where we searched for a range of alpine & forest birds and mammals. Sought after birds including varied thrush, Clarke's nutcracker, harlequin duck, sooty grouse and mountain chickadee got the trip-list off to a good start.

We then spent some time in the spectacular Okanagan Valley, making a couple of stops along the way for such cracking birds as lazuli bunting, Bullock's oriole, mountain bluebird and Say's phoebe.
The habitat changed dramatically as we headed into the drier interior, and so did the avifauna. Here we were joined by the always affable Chris Charlesworth, one of the region's best known birders, to maximise our opportunities. Highlights here included sage thrasher, white-throated swift, common poorwill, caliope & black-chinned hummingbird, Cassin's finch & American three-toed and Lewis's woodpeckers.

Say's phoebe
After a few days on the mainland we headed over to my old stomping ground of Vancouver Island. We did some birding at some of my favourite spots in and around my old home-town Nanaimo before heading up to Mount Washington where we were treated to great views of Steller's and gray jays along with ruffed grouse, chestnut-backed chickadees and Townsend's warbler.
We then drove west to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Here we took a trip to see black bears and were treated to multiple sightings of these stunning beasts. We were also lucky enough to spot sea otters and grey whales from shore.
Bird highlights of the west coast included a range of species such as Pacific wren, MacGillivray's warbler, rufous hummingbird and black swift. We met up with my pal Ian Cruikshank who joined us for a spot of birding around the Tofino area - Ian is a top-notch naturalist who seems to be constantly finding everything from unusual ferns to rare birds!

Wilson's phalarope
After leaving the old-growth rainforest and wild west coast we headed south to my other former home-town, Victoria. From here we explored some of the best areas on southern Vancouver Island.
Days spent birding a range of habitats allowed us to catch up with marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots, red-breasted sapsuckers, several more flycatcher and warbler species plus a couple of unseasonal wildfowl - summering trumpeter and tundra swans! Local expertise was provided by Rick Schortinghuis - a great guy and a great birder. 

From the island we headed back toward Vancouver but not without spending some time at Boundary Bay and the George C Reifel Bird Sanctuary. This famous area is worth a visit at any time of the year and here we saw a number of good birds including northern harrier, both lesser & greater yellowlegs and sandhill crane

For details of the 2017 trip to BC or any other birding tours with Ribble Bird Tours visit the website or email smrbt@blueyonder.co.uk

Full list of species seen on 2016 trip:
  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mute Swan
  3. Trumpeter Swan
  4. Tundra Swan
  5. Wood Duck
  6. Gadwall
  7. American Wigeon
  8. Mallard
  9. Blue-winged Teal
  10. Cinnamon Teal
  11. Northern Shoveler
  12. Northern Pintail
  13. American Green-winged Teal 
  14. Redhead
  15. Ring-necked Duck
  16. Lesser Scaup
  17. Bufflehead
  18. Common Goldeneye
  19. Barrow's Goldeneye
  20. Hooded Merganser
  21. Common Merganser
  22. Ruddy Duck
  23. Ruffed Grouse
  24. Sooty Grouse
  25. California Quail
  26. Pacific Loon
  27. Common Loon
  28. Pied-billed Grebe 
  29. Red-necked Grebe
  30. Eared Grebe
  31. Western Grebe
  32. Double-crested Cormorant
  33. Pelagic Cormorant
  34. Great Blue Heron
  35. Turkey Vulture
  36. Osprey
  37. Bald Eagle
  38. Northern Harrier
  39. Cooper's Hawk
  40. Northern Goshawk
  41. Red-tailed Hawk
  42. American Kestrel
  43. American Coot
  44. Sandhill Crane
  45. Semipalmated Plover
  46. Killdeer
  47. Black Oystercatcher
  48. Spotted Sandpiper
  49. Greater Yellowlegs
  50. Lesser Yellowlegs
  51. Sanderling
  52. Pectoral Sandpiper
  53. Wilson's Snipe
  54. Wilson's Phalarope
  55. Red-necked Phalarope
  56. Mew Gull
  57. Ring-billed Gull
  58. California Gull
  59. Glaucous-winged Gull
  60. Caspian Tern
  61. Common Murre
  62. Pigeon Guillemot
  63. Marbled Murrelet
  64. Rhinoceros Auklet
  65. Rock Pigeon
  66. Band-tailed Pigeon
  67. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  68. Mourning Dove
  69. Barn Owl
  70. Flammulated Owl - heard only
  71. Great Horned Owl 
  72. Barred Owl
  73. Common Poorwill
  74. Black Swift
  75. Vaux's Swift
  76. White-throated Swift
  77. Black-chinned Hummingbird
  78. Anna's Hummingbird
  79. Calliope Hummingbird
  80. Rufous Hummingbird
  81. Belted Kingfisher
  82. Lewis's Woodpecker
  83. Williamson's Sapsucker
  84. Red-naped Sapsucker
  85. Red-breasted Sapsucker
  86. Downy Woodpecker
  87. Hairy Woodpecker
  88. American Three-toed Woodpecker
  89. Northern Flicker
  90. Pileated Woodpecker
  91. Olive-sided Flycatcher
  92. Western Wood-Pewee
  93. Willow Flycatcher
  94. Least Flycatcher
  95. Hammond's Flycatcher
  96. Gray Flycatcher
  97. Dusky Flycatcher
  98. Pacific-slope Flycatcher
  99. Say's Phoebe
  100. Western Kingbird
  101. Eastern Kingbird
  102. Hutton's Vireo
  103. Warbling Vireo
  104. Gray Jay
  105. Steller's Jay
  106. Clark's Nutcracker
  107. Black-billed Magpie
  108. American Crow
  109. Northwestern Crow
  110. Common Raven
  111. Purple Martin
  112. Tree Swallow
  113. Violet-green Swallow
  114. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  115. Bank Swallow
  116. Cliff Swallow
  117. Barn Swallow
  118. Black-capped Chickadee
  119. Mountain Chickadee
  120. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  121. Bushtit
  122. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  123. White-breasted Nuthatch
  124. Pygmy Nuthatch
  125. Brown Creeper
  126. Rock Wren
  127. Canyon Wren
  128. Bewick's Wren
  129. House Wren
  130. Pacific Wren
  131. Marsh Wren
  132. American Dipper
  133. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  134. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  135. Western Bluebird
  136. Mountain Bluebird
  137. Townsend's Solitaire
  138. Swainson's Thrush
  139. Hermit Thrush
  140. American Robin
  141. Varied Thrush
  142. Gray Catbird
  143. Sage Thrasher
  144. European Starling
  145. Cedar Waxwing
  146. Orange-crowned Warbler
  147. Nashville Warbler
  148. Yellow Warbler
  149. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  150. Black-throated Gray Warbler
  151. Townsend's Warbler
  152. MacGillivray's Warbler
  153. Common Yellowthroat
  154. Wilson's Warbler
  155. Western Tanager
  156. Spotted Towhee
  157. Chipping Sparrow
  158. Brewer's Sparrow
  159. Vesper Sparrow
  160. Savannah Sparrow
  161. Fox Sparrow
  162. Song Sparrow
  163. Lincoln's Sparrow
  164. White-crowned Sparrow
  165. Dark-eyed Junco
  166. Black-headed Grosbeak
  167. Lazuli Bunting
  168. Bobolink
  169. Red-winged Blackbird
  170. Western Meadowlark
  171. Yellow-headed Blackbird
  172. Brewer's Blackbird
  173. Brown-headed Cowbird
  174. Bullock's Oriole
  175. Pine grosbeak
  176. Purple Finch
  177. Cassin's Finch
  178. House Finch
  179. Red Crossbill
  180. Pine Siskin
  181. American Goldfinch
  182. House Sparrow