British Columbia, 7th to 20th September 2006

This holiday was prompted by my wife having to attend a conference in Victoria for her work. Her flight was paid for so it seemed silly to waste the opportunity to take a holiday there. The timing was unfortunate as we were in the throws of buying a house and could barely afford either the time or the money to holiday abroad for the second time in a year. Consequently I had little time to prepare for the holiday and had not had the opportunity to research the best sites to visit etc. Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable trip and, being only my second visit to North America, it yielded a few new birds for me.

This trip report has two main sections:

In most cases you can click on a photo to see a larger and sometimes less heavily-cropped version. All photos are copyright Dave Appleton. Please refer to the Photo Pages main page for details of obtaining permission to use any of my photos.

Click here to go straight to the site details page, or scroll down for the beginning of the species list.


Species List

Where the English and North American versions of the species name differ, the English name is given with the North American version in brackets. The following abbreviations are used throughout:

This section is split into several pages (each page has a link to the next one at the end):

VI = Vancouver Island
Van = Vancouver area (i.e. coastal region between Vancouver and Boundary Bay)
Int = Interior, i.e. anywhere inland of Vancouver

Click on the photos to see a larger (and sometimes less heavily cropped) version.




Mute Swan Cygnus olor

VI – Feral birds present at 3 sites: 20 Esquimalt Lagoon 9th, 18 Cowichan Bay 10th, 1 Campbell River 12th


Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus

VI – 1 with feral Mute Swans Cowichan Bay 10th. Presumably either an over-summering individual or an early migrant?


(Greater) White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons

Int – 127 Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area 18th.

White-fronted Geese, Creston Valley, 18-Sep-06
White-fronted Geese (and American Wigeon), Creston Valley, 18th September 2006


(Greater) Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Van – Most, if not all, presumably involving resident (feral?) birds rather than proper wild birds. Counts included 250 Boundary Bay 8th. These included a couple of aberrant or hybrid birds (see photos below).

VI - Common with most, if not all, presumably involving resident (feral?) birds rather than proper wild birds. Counts included 120 Cowichan Bay 10th, 150 Rathrevor Park 11th, 137 McIntyre Reservoir 13th.

Int – Presumed feral birds at Golden and Wilmer Bird Sanctuary.

Canada Geese, Boundary Bay, 8-Sep-06

Canada Geese at dusk, Boundary Bay, 8th September 2006


Canada Geese, Boundary Bay, 8-Sep-06 aberrant Canada Geese, Boundary Bay, 8-Sep-06
Leucistic Canada Geese, Boundary Bay, 8th September 2006. This looked pretty much like a small, washed out Canada Goose. I'm not 100% sure it's simply leucistic and not a hybrid - the photos appear to show a bulging forehead (although this wasn't noticed in the field) which may suggest domestic Chinese Swan Goose influence perhaps. Aberrant Canada Goose, Boundary Bay, 8th September 2006. The white joining up at the nape is unusual, as is the white flecking down the black neck sock. This was associating closely with the pale bird shown left. Again there's a chance this is a hybrid, some of which show similar white flecking on the neck sock as well as an aberrantly-shaped white chin strap, but I think it's more likely just an albinistic Canada Goose.


Wood Duck Aix sponsa

Van – 5 Reifel 8th.

Int – 9 Wilmer Bird Sanctuary 17th, 15+ Creston Valley 18th.

Wood Duck, Reifel, 8-Sep-06 Wood Ducks, Reifel, 8-Sep-06
Wood Ducks, Reifel, 8-Sep-06  
Wood Ducks, Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, 8th September 2006


American Wigeon Anas americana

Van – Counts included 100+ Boundary Bay 9th.

VI – 67 Cowichan Bay 10th, 50+ Campbell River 12th, 25 Courtenay 12th.

Int – At numerous locations but 700+ Wilmer Bird Sanctuary 17th was most impressive.

American Wigeon, Boundary Bay, 8-Sep-06 American Wigeons, Emerald Lake, 17-Sep-06
American Wigeon, Boundary Bay, 8th September 2006 American Wigeons, Emerald Lake, 17th September 2006


Gadwall Anas strepera

Van – Best count 20 Reifel 8th. Also seen at Iona Beach and Boundary Bay .

Int – 2 Creston Valley 18th.

Gadwall, Iona Beach, 7-Sep-06
Gadwall, Iona Beach, 7th September 2006


Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis

Van – Best count 400+ Boundary Bay 8th.

VI – Smaller numbers at many sites.

Int – 3 Golden 16th, 6 Bobolink Meadows 19th.

Green-winged Teal, Reifel, 8-Sep-06 Green-winged Teal, Swan Lake, 13-Sep-06
Green-winged Teal, Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, 8th September 2006 Green-winged Teal, Swan Lake (Victoria), 13th September 2006


Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Van, VI, Int – common everywhere though not usually in particularly large numbers.


(Northern) Pintail Anas acuta

Van – Staggering numbers at Boundary Bay where a conservative estimate of 2000+ on 8th. Also 10 Reifel 8th.

VI – Single figure counts at Esquimalt Lagoon, Cordova Spit, McIntyre Reservoir, Swan Lake; 15+ Cowichan Bay 10th, 28 Englishman River Estuary 11th.

Pintail, Reifel, 8-Sep-06 Pintail, Reifel, 8-Sep-06

Pintails, Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, 8th September 2006


Pintail, Boundary Bay, 8-Sep-06 Pintails, Boundary Bay, 8-Sep-06
Pintail, Boundary Bay, 8th September 2006 A very small part of an enormous flock of Pintails, Boundary Bay, 8th September 2006


Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera

Van – 8 Reifel 8th.

Cinnamon Teal, Reifel, 8-Sep-06 Cinnamon Teal, Reifel, 8-Sep-06
Cinnamon Teals, Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, 8th September 2006


(Northern) Shoveler Anas clypeata

Van – 4 Iona Beach 7th, 130 Reifel 8th, 50 Boundary Bay 20th.

VI – 2 Somenos Marsh 10th, 1 Campbell River 12th.

Int – 1 near Revelstoke 15th, 3 Golden 16th.

Shoveler, Reifel, 8-Sep-06 Shoveler, near Revelstoke, 15-Sep-06
Shoveler, Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, 8th September 2006 Shoveler, near Revelstoke, 15th September 2006


Redhead Aythya americana

Int – 3 Wasa Lake 18th.


Canvasback Aythya valisineria

Van – 1 Reifel 8th.

Int – 1 Kamloops 14th.

Canvasback, Reifel, 8-Sep-06
Canvasback, Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, 8th September 2006


Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris

Int – 5 locations including 80 Wilmer Bird Sanctuary 17th, 70 Wasa Lake 18th.

Ring-necked Duck, Wasa Lake, 18-Sep-06 Ring-necked Duck, Wasa Lake, 18-Sep-06
Ring-necked Ducks, Wasa Lake, 18th September 2006. Must try harder!


(Greater) Scaup Aythya marila

Int – 1 Kamloops 14th.


Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis

Int – 6 males Emerald Lake 17th, 3 Cranbrook 18th.

Lesser Scaups, Emerald Lake, 17-Sep-06
4 Lesser Scaups and 1 Ring-necked Duck, Emerald Lake, 17th September 2006


Harlequin Histrionicus histrionicus

VI – 6 Clover Point 9th (2 there 13th), 110 Campbell River 12th.

Harlequin, Clover Point, 9-Sep-06 Harlequin, Clover Point, 9-Sep-06
Harlequins, Clover Point (Victoria), 9th September 2006


Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata

Van – 8 Tsawwassen 9th.

VI – 3 Cordova Spit 10th, 4 Englishman River Estuary 11th, 1 Oyster Bay Shoreline Park 12th, 250 Campbell River 12th.


Bufflehead Bucephala albeola

Int – 8 Kamloops 12th.


(Common) Goldeneye Bucephala clangula

Int – 1 Golden 16th. None were identified in the field, but when I went through the photos on returning home I discovered this one which shows a longer bill than Barrow's Goldeneye should have. I wasn't quite so convinced about the headshape (which I find can often mislead on a single frame) and as I hadn't noticed it in life I wondered if the photo was also misleading with the bill shape. Hence I initially posted it as a Barrow's Goldeneye without comment to see if others would pick up on it. They did (thanks Guy), so I'm now changing it. The Goldeneyes at this site were not easily viewable as there was a row of trees between me and them - I can only assume that this one swum past the gap while my camera was in hand but not when I was just looking. At least that's my excuse...!

Goldeneye, Golden, 16-Sep-06
Common Goldeneye, Golden, 16th September 2006.


Barrow’s Goldeneye Bucephala islandica

Int – 2 Marble Canyon Provincial Park 14th, 4 Kamloops 14th, 3 Golden 16th, 1 Emerald Lake 17th.

Barrow's Goldeneye, Golden, 16-Sep-06
Barrow's Goldeneyes, Golden, 16th September 2006.


Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus

VI – 1 Cordova Spit 10th, 2 Campbell River 12th.

Hooded Merganser, Cordova Spit, 10-Sep-06
Hooded Merganser, Cordova Spit, 10th September 2006


Goosander (Common Merganser) Mergus merganser

VI – 77 Campbell River 12th. Single figure counts at 5 other sites.

Int – 3 Emerald Lake 17th, 1 Creston Valley 18th.

Goosander, Campbell River, 12-Sep-06
Goosanders (Common Mergansers), Campbell River, 12th September 2006


Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis

Int – 10 Wilmer Bird Sanctuary 17th.


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