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Stop 10 - Southwest Coast of British Columbia : REIFEL BIRD SANCTUARY, SATURNA ISLAND

The following page is devoted to my roadtrip photos of birds from a couple of locations on the southwest coast of British Columbia. Clearly, I did not photograph every kind of bird that can be found in southwestern BC, but I have provided a selection of some of my favorite photos of the birds I did happen to see.

First a few photos from the beautiful Saturna Island

How lighting effects a photo Part 1: Evening colors at East Point.
Stafish in Surf.
How lighting effects a photo Part 2: Evening colors at East Point.

Birds I saw at Reifel Bird Sanctuary and Saturna Island

June 12-16, 2008

When snow and rain pushed me out of Yellowstone, I headed towards home in southwestern British Columbia, where I made one more birding stop to draw my amazing birding road trip to a close. I spent a couple of days each at two of my favorite birding spots in the area: George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Saturna Island.

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located on the western end of Westham Island just south of Vancouver. The sanctuary consists of nearly 3 square kilometers (1.2 square miles) of managed wetlands, natural marshes, and low dikes in the heart of the Fraser Valley Estuary. For millions of birds seeking feeding and resting areas during their annual migrations along the Pacific Coast, the sanctuary is ideally located. The sanctuary hosts a variety of wetland, woodland, and marsh birds, specializing in several species of waterfowl. When I arrived, I was welcomed back by a family of quacking baby Mallards and a pair of cute and colorful Wood Ducks. Due to a cool Spring, species diversity in the northwest was lower than usual, but I did add a few new ducks to my road trip list.

Next I took a ferry out to Saturna Island, tucked away at the southern end of the Gulf Island chain located southeast of Vancouver Island. A remote and sparsely populated rural hideaway with 31 square kilometers (12 square miles) of forests, rock bluffs, wetlands, mudflats, reefs, and beaches, Saturna Island is full of wildlife and tremendous natural beauty. Not only is Saturna a magical place to be, but the island also hosts a modest 200 species of birds. I love the place so much I have an entire page of photos devoted to the island. While I did not see anything I had not seen before on Saturna Island, I saw several west coast specialties I had not yet seen on my birding road trip: Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pelagic Cormorant, Brown Creeper, Northwestern Crow, Peregrine Falcon, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Pigeon Guillemot, Black Oystercatcher, Vesper Sparrow, Varied Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler (which put my trip warbler count at 41) Pileated Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, and Winter Wren. The birds tend to stay higher up in the tall trees and make photography a bit more challenging, but there is an impressive west-coast species variety. Some day, perhaps, I will have seen all 200 species that pass over or around the island during various times of the year.

(Since I live in southwestern BC, I have seen many of the birds that can be found in this area. Many of my favorite photos of birds from southwestern BC and the surrounding area are posted on my Birds WEBPAGE. I wanted to see how my familiar birding spots would compare to the other hot spots I went to on my birding road trip, so this page lists the birds I saw at Reifel and Saturna only during the few days I spent there at the end of my roadtrip, rather than my longer list of birds I've seen there over the years.)

BLACKBIRD:
    Red-winged
CHICKADEE:
    Black-capped
    Chestnut-backed
CORMORANT:
    Pelagic
COWBIRD:
    Brown-headed
CRANE:
    Sandhill
CREEPER:
    Brown
CROW:
    Northwestern
DOVE:
    Mourning
    Rock (brown adult)
    Rock (checkered adult)
    Rock (dark adult)
    Rock (natural adult)
    Rock (pied adult)
DUCK:
    Wood
    Unidentified
EAGLE:
    Bald
FALCON:
    Peregrine
FINCH:
    House

FLICKER:
    Northern
FLYCATCHER:
    Olive-sided
    Pacific-slope
    Willow
GADWALL
GOLDFINCH:
    American
GOOSE:
    Canada
GROSBEAK:
    Black-headed
GUILLEMOT:
    Pigeon
GULL:
    Some kind
HAWK:
    Red-tailed
HERON:
    Great Blue
HUMMINGBIRD:
    Rufous
JUNCO:
    Oregon Dark-eyed
KILLDEER
MALLARD:
    Mallard
    Domestic
NUTHATCH:
    Red-breasted

OWL:
    Great Horned
OYSTERCATCHER:
    Black
PINTAIL:
    Northern
RAVEN:
    Common
ROBIN:
    American
SHOVELER:
    Northern
SISKIN:
    Pine
SPARROW:
    House
    Song
    Vesper?
    White-crowned
STARLING:
    European
SWALLOW:
    Barn
    Northern Rough-winged
    Tree
    Violet-green
TEAL:
    Blue-winged
    Green-winged

THRUSH:
    Swainson's
    Vaired
TOWHEE:
    Spotted
TURKEY:
    Wild
VULTURE:
    Turkey
WARBLER:
    Orange-crowned
    Wilson's
    Yellow-rumped (Myrtle)
WAXWING:
    Cedar
WIGEON:
    American
WOOD-PEWEE:
    Western
WOODPECKER:
    Downy
    Pileated
WREN:
    Bewick's
    House
    Marsh
    Winter
YELLOWTHROAT:
    Common

(My favorite photos are highlighted.)


Red-winged Blackbird (male), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Red-winged Blackbird (female), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Black-capped Chickadee, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Young Chestnut-backed Chickadee (right) and mother (left), Saturna Island.

Pelagic Cormorant, Saturna Island.

Brown-headed Cowbird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Goofy Sandhill Crane, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Brown Creeper, Saturna Island.

Northwestern Crow, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Rock Dove (brown adult), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Rock Dove (checkered adult), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Rock Dove (dark adult), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Rock Dove (natural adult), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Rock Dove (pied adult), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Wood Duck (male), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Wood Duck (female), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Unidentified Duck, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Bald Eagle (juvenile), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Peregrine Falcon, Saturna Island.

A pair of House Finch (male on left), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Northern Flicker, Saturna Island.

Olive-sided Flycatcher, Saturna Island.

Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Saturna Island.

Willow Flycatcher, Saturna Island.

Gadwall, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

American Goldfinch, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Canada Goose napping, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Black-headed Grosbeak, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Pigeon Guillemot, Saturna Island.

Gull of some sort, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Red-tailed Hawk, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Great Blue Heron drying its wings, Saturna Island.

Rufous Hummingbird, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Oregon Dark-eyed Junco (juvenile), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Killdeer, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Mallard mother and duckling, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Domestic Mallard, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Black Oystercatcher, Saturna Island.

Great Horned Owl, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Northern Pintail, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Common Raven, Saturna Island.

American Robin, Saturna Island.

Northern Shoveler (female), Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Pine Siskin, Saturna Island.

House Sparrow, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Song Sparrow, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Young Vesper Sparrow (?), Saturna Island.

White-crowned Sparrow, Saturna Island.

A flock of juvenile European Starlings, Saturna Island.

Barn Swallow, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Saturna Island.

Tree Swallow, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Violet-green Swallow flying out of its nest in the sandstone cliffs, Saturna Island.

Blue-winged Teal, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Green-winged Teal, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Swainson's Thrush (sorry, terrible photo), Saturna Island.

Varied Thrush, Saturna Island.

Spotted Towhee, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Spotted Towhee baby, Saturna Island.

Wild Turkey, Saturna Island.

Wild Turkey baby, Saturna Island.

Turkey Vulture, Saturna Island.

Orange-crowned Warbler, Saturna Island.

Young Yellow-rumped Warbler (myrtle), Saturna Island.

Wilson's Warbler jumping out of focus, Saturna Island.

Cedar Waxwing, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

American Wigeon, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Western Wood-Pewee, Saturna Island.

Downy Woodpecker, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Pileated Woodpecker, Saturna Island.

Bewick's Wren, Saturna Island.

House Wren, Saturna Island.

Marsh Wren in grass, Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Winter Wren, Saturna Island.
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