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British Columbia Winter Birding
Itineraries: Brief and Detailed

Trip Description

Brief Itinerary

British Columbia, Canada’s third largest, and its westernmost province, boasts a bird list higher than any other geographic region within the country. Birders will appreciate B.C.’s variety of habitats and the corresponding diversity of bird species. Our tour will visit coastal areas of the Fraser River Delta, where marshes and tidal mudflats are home to impressive numbers of wintering waterbirds. Attracted by the array of waterfowl and shorebirds, raptors are also abundant. Two ferry crossings of the Salish Sea are made on this tour, between Vancouver and the province’s capital city, Victoria, which is on Vancouver Island. During our crossing we may see seabirds as well as cetaceans. Once on Vancouver Island, we will explore Victoria’s fine selection of city parks where birds like Golden-crowned Sparrow, Bushtit, Anna’s Hummingbird and Chestnut-backed Chickadee spend the winter. Rocky coastal jetties and headlands in Victoria provide excellent sea watching opportunities and interesting shorebirds like Surfbird, Black Turnstone and Black Oystercatcher can be found here.


We will also visit British Columbia’s southern interior on this tour, as we will fly from Vancouver to Kelowna, in the Okanagan Valley. Here in the interior, the habitat is different once again with dry forests, grasslands, and semi-arid desert areas. The valley bottom is lined with lakes, many of which can be frozen during the winter; however, Okanagan Lake does not typically freeze. While in the Okanagan, we will search for owls, including Western Screech-Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl and Great Gray Owl, amongst others. Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Shrike are also regular winter species in open areas. In the boreal forests we will search for hard-to-find birds like Boreal Chickadee, Spruce Grouse and American Three-toed Woodpecker. Some winters bring numbers of finch species to the region, including White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak and Snow Bunting. We can often find large flocks of wintering Bohemian Waxwings in the Okanagan during the winter.


British Columbia’s proximity to Alaska and Asia makes the region prone to vagrant Siberian birds. Recent winters have produced such ABA rarities as Red-flanked Bluetail, Citrine Wagtail, Fieldfare, Redwing, Dusky Thrush, Brambling and Siberian Accentor, to name a few examples. Though we cannot guarantee any Siberian vagrants will be about during our visit, we can always hope.

Day 1: Arrival in Vancouver in late AM; Afternoon Birding South of Vancouver at Boundary Bay

Day 2: Full Day Vancouver Area Birding: Stanley Park, the North Shore, Iona Island and Hopefully Mega Rarity

Day 3: Full Day Birding South of Vancouver: Tsawwassen Ferry Jetty, and Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Day 4: Morning Birding from Ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (on Vancouver Island); Afternoon Birding Saanich and Swan Lake and Perhaps More

Day 5: Full Day Victoria Birding: Beacon Hill Park, Cattle Point, Clover Point, Ogden Point Breakwater, Esquimalt Lagoon and Perhaps More with Some Rarity Potential

Day 6: More Ferry Birding from Victoria to Vancouver; then Drive and Fly from Vancouver to Kelowna with Birding in Kelowna in Late Afternoon

Day 7: AM Birding Mountains East of Kelowna (Northern Pygmy-Owls) and Joe Rich and Philpott Road; Afternoon Birding at Okanagan Lake with Potential for More Winter Birding Surprises

Day 8: AM Birding South of Okanagan: Penticton, Vaseux Lake and Okanagan Falls; Rest of Day Birding Boreal Forest to East

Day 9: AM Final Birding in Kelowna; Afternoon Flights Home

More details about this Trip:

Detailed Itinerary

Find below our British Columbia Winter Birding Detailed Itinerary or download it.

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