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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

KEY:      favorite photos      SONGBIRDS  WATERBIRDS  RAPTORS & OWLS/NEAR PASSERINES  HUMMINGBIRDS & WOODPECKERS


Red-winged BLACKBIRD (male)
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Red-winged BLACKBIRD (female)
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Black-capped CHICKADEE
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Chestnut-backed CHICKADEE (right=juvenile, left=mother)
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

House FINCH (male and female)
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
Reifel Bird Sanctuary
napping

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 
Saturna Island
drying its wings

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

European STARLINGS (juveniles)
Saturna Island

Barn SWALLOW
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Northern Rough-winged SWALLOW
Saturna Island

Tree SWALLOW
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Violet-green SWALLOW 
Saturna Island
flying out of its nest in the sandstone cliffs

Blue-winged TEAL
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Green-winged TEAL
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Swainson's THRUSH 
Saturna Island
sorry, terrible photo

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

Yellow-rumped WARBLER (young myrtle)
Saturna Island

Wilson's WARBLER
Saturna Island
jumping out of focus

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
Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Winter WREN
Saturna Island
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