For guided birding in the Victoria area contact us for 1/2 and full day trips throughout Vancouver Island. We have 9 years of birding experience in this area and 25 years of birding around the world.
Full day guided birding ..... CAD$300.00 per couple
Half day guided birding ..... CAD$150.00 per couple
We provide transportation to and from your lodging, the ferries or from the airport. The use of our spotting scope and binoculars, local bird identification books, a bird check list, soft drinks and fruit juice are also included; a lunch is included for the full day excursion.
There are 331 bird species in this area. We will travel to various types of habitats to spot as many as possible. Some of the sought after species in this area are; the Eurasian Skylark, Black Oystercatchers, Tufted Puffin, California Quail, Anna's Hummingbird and several Pelagic species from the shore. These are but just a few of the birds that we will seek out in their specific habitat. We can also custom tailor the day to your specific wishes.
Victoria's position along the Pacific flyway makes it prime territory for bird watching
Jim Gibson, Times Colonist staff
Published: Saturday, March 11, 2006
(republished with permission)
Ann Scarfe is sure the barred owl is somewhere in the aspen grove down the slope behind the Swan Lake Nature House.
Swan Lake Sanctuary's program manager leads the way after a quick run-through of the do's and don'ts of binocular use -- always loop them around your neck, avoid looking at the sun and never walk while viewing.
"He was here Tuesday," says Scarfe, scanning the trees. Then she spots the owl.
It takes a while for the untrained eye to distinguish the owl through the lattice work of branches -- it could just as easily be a mottled cache of leaves in the crux of a tree. It takes almost as long to focus the binoculars on the sleepy owl, all puffed up against the wind.
Scarfe then takes a path heading to the lake. En route, she points out owl droppings and stray feathers from duck dinners enjoyed by six bald eagles that recently spent a week in the area.
Birding involves almost as much listening as watching. Scarfe identifies a meowing sound as a spotted towhee -- when it finally appears, it looks to the inexperienced eye like some sort of robin relative. The occasional clicking overhead comes from the wings of hummingbirds zooming in to feed on flowering Indian plum and scoop spiderwebs from fir branches to build their nests.
Herons are heard, but not seen by the water. It's too windy -- Scarfe suspects they've taken refuge in shoreline reeds. A cormorant perches mid-lake, while several more navigate the chop. A Cooper's hawk drops down on the lakeside path, decides whatever caught his eye isn't worth it, and flies off.
Birding for Scarfe isn't just making ticks on a checklist, but taking the time to observe species in their natural habitat. "You watch [their] behaviour," says Scarfe, and "all the cares of the world go away."
Victoria is prime birding territory, mainly because it's located on the Pacific flyway, one of three principal migratory routes in North America. It's difficult to pinpoint the size of the birding community here or nationally, however. Most of the Victoria Natural History Club's 800 members are birders, but that doesn't include those who simply like to watch what's happening at their backyard birdfeeders.
The birder numbers are sizable enough for Tanner's Books in Sidney to stock upwards of six monthly birding magazines. Novelist Graeme Gibson's non-fiction The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany has continued to turn up on Maclean's magazine's bestsellers list months after its fall release.
"Doesn't that tell you something?" says Scarfe.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006