|Esquimalt Lagoon, looking Southwest towards the Juan de Fuca Strait|
Birding Esquimalt Lagoon in Victoria BC
Birding the Okanogan Valley in BC (Lewis's Woodpecker Story)
Birding the Okanogan Valley in BC (White lake area)
Birding in Revelstoke National Park (Skunk Cabage Trail )
Birding in Lake Louise Banff Alberta
Birding in Calgary (Ingelwood Bird Sactuary)
In Victoria BC, which is on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island, there is a Navy Base called Esquimalt. There is an adjacent small lagoon (Esquimalt Lagoon) which is an IBA and I figured that while visiting my friend, I would stop by and check it out. I did some ebird.ca research on local hotspots in Victoria and was saddened to see that in mid-July, there was not much happening at this lagoon!
Upon arrival at the lagoon, it first appeared that nothing was really around. A few gulls, pigeons, Canada Geese were present but not much else. This "natural area" seemed to be hardened by dog-walkers and man-made gravel that may have been added to prevent erosion. Then, a closer look around had revealed that the gulls were Glaucous-Winged, the blackbirds were Brewer's Blackbirds, and obligatory Bald Eagles and Belted Kingfishers were perched on bordering trees.
Black Turnstones and Black Oystercatchers were supposed to be year-round residents, and neither were found until my last evening there. I found Black Oystercatchers, Long billed Dowitcher, and even a Pigeon Guillemot which I new was an "Auck" when I found it but was a lifer I had to look up in the old field guide. A flock of shorebirds flew by and I took some photos, but I was unable to confidently identify them. Western Sandpipers perhaps?
Other exciting lifers found adjacent to the Lagoon were Chestnut-Backed Chickadees and Spotted Towhee.
Swan Lake Nature Area (http://www.swanlake.bc.ca/)
-This was a nice little location in Victoria with a great visitor center and one of the few places I spoke to an employee that was knowledgeable on the topic of birding. Bushtit and Bewick's Wren along with many hummingbirds were seen. I swear I saw a Black headed Grosbeck, but I'm not certain enough to call it a lifer.
Stanley Park (http://vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley/)
Goldstream Park (http://www.goldstreampark.com/)
-Western (Winter) Wren... does this count as a lifer?
Lynn Canyon Park (http://lynncanyon.ca/)
-Missed out on American Dippers nesting near visitor center!
Buchart Gardens (http://www.butchartgardens.com)
Ferry Ride from Victoria to Vancouver (http://www.bcferries.com/)
-A few unidentified shorebirds
Maplewood bird sanctuary in North Vancouver - (http://birdinginvancouver.wordpress.com/site-guides/maplewood-conservation-area/)
-Western Pewee (Pacific Slope?)
|I saw hummingbirds everyday on this vacation, but this is the only decent photo I was able to obtain...|
There is so much more I could talk about, but I will end this posting here. My birding trip to the Okanogan Valley was mind-blowing... possibly the best day of birding in my two years of birding. I will try to write up that posting shortly!
PS: Here is a lifer summary just from Victoria and Vancouver:
244-Long billed Dowitcher
246-Chestnut backed Chickadee
253-Green Violet Swift
256-Pacific Slope Flycatcher