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