I recently returned from a two-week camping trip to Vancouver Island, as many of you know. We left on Saturday the 6th of August, and stopped over night at our friends’ place in Summerland.
My Dad and I woke early on the Sunday and explored the neighbourhood. A Killdeer calling from the top of a tree attracted attention, but it was merely an imitating Starling. There were some Stellar’s Jays around, but we were more interested in the California Quail, a bird that we do not have at home.
As the 6:00 ferry was full that evening, we had to wait for the 7:00, which left plenty of time for us to bird the hotspot. Common Loons, Great Blue Herons, and Glaucous-winged Gulls were plentiful, but the Highlight was a Peregrine Falcon that swooped in at about 6:30, and stayed until we left.
That night, we set up camp at Goldstream Provincial Park, where we would stay for the following week.
On Monday the 8th we birded Whiffin Spit. Halfway down the path we were watching some White-crowned Sparrows when a twittering Anna’s Hummingbird zoomed over our heads. Lifer!
Western Sandpiper, another lifer from Whiffin Spit
Tuesday we went out to Cowichan Bay, where we identified Purple Martins, but the real Highlight was Esquimalt Lagoon, 2 swan species, and many ducks, gulls and guillemots.
Immature Glaucous-winged Gull
We spent much of our third day at the Victoria Museum. but when we left we found a few Anna’s Hummingbirds and 3 Purple Finches.
On Thursday we headed to Botanical Beach, where the first thing that we encountered was a Black Bear. After it had left, I found some Western Sandpipers and Harlequin Ducks, but the treat was an immature Golden-crowned Sparrow. In the woods nearby, a lone Yellow-bellied Flycatcher called.
Harlequin Duck, engulfed by the surf
On our final full day based in Goldstream, we took a ferry across to Saltspring Island and Maxwell Mountain, where we saw 2 Baldies, 2 Peregrines and 6 Turkey Vultures in the space of five minutes.
We packed up camp fairly early the next morning, and went to Cattle Point to look for Black Turnstones. just as we were turning back, we saw them, a long distance away, but it counted.
That evening, we hit Swan Lake were we found Bushtits, Anna’s Hummingbirds and the Best view of a Bewick’s Wren so far.
That concluded the first week, but we had high hopes for the second. A pelagic tour from Tofino, more lifers, and the famous Reifel Bird Sanctuary all awaited. So far, I had a lifer count of 7 for seven days. Could I keep it up?