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PRE & POST CONGRESS TOURS

IOCongress2018 has worked hard to create unique, one of a kind Expeditions for congress attendees. Click on the tour you are interested in below for more details, dates, and to tentatively register!

 

Sponsored and led by British Columbia Field Ornithologists

Less than an hour’s drive south of downtown Vancouver, the Fraser River estuary and delta is a birder’s paradise with huge expanses of tidal mudflats, bogs, and marshes surrounded by open-soil upland farmland. The size of the delta, in combination with its mix of habitats and mild climate, makes it the number one Important Bird Area (IBA) and a major location birding in Canada. The area features continentally and globally significant numbers of migrating and wintering waterbirds, plus raptors.

Shorebird migration is well underway in August as Arctic breeders flood south using Boundary Bay as a key stopover before continuing their migrations. Although August is a time of year that rarities often show up, the regularly occurring species will be our focus. These include: Black-bellied Plovers, American Golden-Plovers, Semi-palmated Plovers, Killdeers, Black Oystercatchers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Curlews, possibly three species of godwits, plus Red Knots, Sanderlings, Semipalmated, Western, Least, Baird’s, Pectoral, and Stilt sandpipers, both species of dowitchers, Wilson’s Snipes, and Red-necked Phalaropes.

The most favorable tides for shorebird viewing are late afternoon and early evening at this time of year, consequently we are unable to offer the best shorebirding experience during the conference itself because of the mis-match between tides and conference events. Hence, this special pre-conference full-day tour on Saturday 18 August is custom designed for keen birders and for others with particular interests in shorebirds.

Leaders will optimize viewing opportunities to multiple sites around Boundary Bay, Roberts and Sturgeon Banks according to the state of the tides. Driving time will be minimized and birding time maximized to see shorebirds plus other resident and migrant passerine species.

Breakfast and boxed lunches will be provided on the Saturday. At the end of the day, dinner will be hosted at a local restaurant/bar to sample some of the local seafood specialties.

To enable us to start and end these special tours into the heart of the Fraser Delta and avoid traffic delays, accommodation at special rates is being offered at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn, Tsawwassen, for two nights (Friday 17 and Saturday 18 August) - from where all tours depart. Reduced taxi rates are available from Vancouver Airport to the hotel. Tour participants will be transported to downtown Vancouver on Sunday 19 August. 

COSTS:
Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and some meals. Participants will be responsible for booking their accommodations at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.


BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Leaders will be experienced local bird guides, expert in shorebird identification. This tour is tailored for the keen birder or shorebird specialist who wants to see what the Fraser Delta and Boundary Bay have to offer during fall migration.

A moderate level of fitness will be required. At least one dyke walk of approximately 3 kms will be included. Trails on the delta are unpaved but flat.


WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Unless the weather is unseasonably wet or stormy, expect to dress for warm summer conditions, with a couple of extra layers in case of cool winds. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions require sunscreen. Bugs are rarely a problem on the delta, and for most people bug spray is not needed. If you are sensitive to mosquito bites, be prepared with some repellent. Brimmed hats and sunglasses are recommended.


IMPORTANT – Register Now!


These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated.


 

Your Guide: Dick Cannings, MP

Sponsored, planned, and led by British Columbia Field Ornithologists

Paul GierszewskiOffered through BC Field Ornithologists, a truly exceptional tour to the Okanagan Valley, or simply the best place to bird in Canada, led by one of the most recognized bird experts in Canada. The Okanagan is matched by very few locations anywhere on the Continent for resident bird diversity, with over 200 species on its breeding bird list. Habitats range from sagebrush deserts to lush lakeside marshes, ponderosa pine parkland to alpine meadows. We can expect to see over 150 species on this 3-day pre-IOCongress2018 tour that will travel by coach starting and ending in downtown Vancouver.By USFWS Mountain-Prairie - Western Meadowlark

Day 1 (Friday 17 August): leave Vancouver in the early morning, proceed east to Hunter Creek for a short stop in coastal forests, looking for Band-tailed Pigeons, Steller’s Jays, Bewick’s Wren and Black-throated Gray Warbler. Then onto the Crowsnest Highway at Hope and the climb into the north Cascade Mountains of Manning Park. A stop at Sumallo Grove could produce Harlequin Duck, Black Swift, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, American Dipper, Varied Thrush and other rainforest birds. We will then drive to the treeline for a picnic lunch in the alpine meadows, looking for Sooty Grouse, Spruce Grouse, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Pine Grosbeak. After lunch, we will continue east to the Similkameen Valley where we’ll search the dry grasslands and ponderosa pine forests for Dusky Grouse, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Pygmy Nuthatch, Cassin’s Finch and other species typical of these habitats. In the lower Similkameen Valley we will seek sagebrush flats for Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, Lark Sparrow and Vesper Sparrow. Overnight in Osoyoos.

Day 2 (Saturday 18 August): A full day of birding in the south Okanagan Valley. First morning light, we will visit to the north end of Osoyoos Lake, looking for Chukar, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, White-throated Swift, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Canyon Wren, Rock Wren, and Lazuli Bunting. A picnic lunch at Vaseux Lake could produce the species mentioned above at Osoyoos Lake as well as a variety of waterfowl. We’ll return to Osoyoos for dinner, and then take an evening drive up to the high grasslands and larch forests of Anarchist Mountain where Swainson’s Hawk and Great Gray Owl are possibilities. Overnight again in Osoyoos.

Day 3 (Sunday 19 August): We’ll meet the dawn in the sagebrush grasslands and ponderosa pine woodlands of the White Lake basin, looking for Black-chinned, Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds, Sage Thrasher, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, and more. A drive north along Okanagan Lake to Peachland will bring us to Hardy Falls, where a short walk along the creek could produce Vaux’s Swift, American Dipper, Veery and MacGillivray’s Warbler. After lunch we will return west to arrive downtown Vancouver by late afternoon.

COSTS: Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and some meals. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.


BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS: A very experienced leader will accompany the group. This tour is specifically designated for avid birders and bird photographers. A moderate level of fitness will be required. Most field excursions will involve the group moving slowly along short to medium length but rugged trails, and some may involve elevation gain and loss of 200 meters.


WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT: Bring hiking clothes for hot, dry summer conditions with a couple of extra layers as it is cooler at higher elevations. Sunglasses and a brimmed hat are a must. Rain is possible, so a light rain jacket is recommended. Even overcast weather in the region requires sunscreen. The need for bug spray will depend on the local conditions, but bring mosquito repellent regardless,


IMPORTANT – Register now: These expeditions are being planned and customized exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details.


 


To celebrate the first time an International Ornithological Congress has been hosted on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, we are offering three post-congress birding expeditions to Ecuador. Each expedition is being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 delegates and will have an experienced leader and local bird guides.


 

A) COMPLETE AMAZON/ANDEAN CLOUD FOREST/GALAPAGOS EXPEDITION (~20 DAYS):

Departing Vancouver on Monday 27 August, we fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador situated at almost 3,000m in the Andes. The next day, Tuesday 28 August, we will explore the culture and heritage of Quito’s “old-town” UNESCO world-heritage site.

Wednesday 29 August, we fly into the rainforest and travel down-river to a remote jungle lodge to explore the diversity of Western Amazonia. Here be macaws, toucans, and Hoatzin by day, and the call of the Potoo echoing through the forest night.

After a three-night stay, we travel by private bus into the high elevation eastern cloud and montane forests of the Andes on Saturday 1 September. We will reside at Papallacta Hot Springs for two nights and bird the high Andean landscapes for Mountain Tanagers, Sword-billed Humming birds and Torrent Duck.

On Monday 3 September, we descend into the western cloud forest around Mindo, but not before a stop at the equator line. We encounter a diversity of habitats and species as we travel across the Andes; special birds will include Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, dozens of hummingbird species and secretive antpittas.

Heading back into Quito on Wednesday 5 September, the next day we visit the Antisana Ecological Reserve (over 4,000m) on the high paramo plateau to observe more Andean specialties, including Andean Condor and Black-faced Ibis.

Friday 7 September, we trade fleece jackets for t-shirts and fly to the Galapagos for an eight-day cruise on a chartered yacht. We sail in search of “Darwin’s finches”, Waved Albatross, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins and the full diversity of endemic wildlife, including Galapagos tortoises and marine iguanas.

We return to Quito on Friday 14 September and depart for Vancouver on Saturday 15 September.


B) AMAZON/ANDEAN CLOUD FOREST EXPEDITION (~12 DAYS) OPTION: 

Enjoy the same expedition schedule as above, but depart Quito for Vancouver on Friday 7 September, and leave the Galapagos for another time…

C) GALAPAGOS EXPEDITION (~12 DAYS): 

Departing Vancouver on Monday 27 August, we fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador situated at almost 3,000m in the Andes. The next day we explore the culture and heritage of Quito’s “old-town” UNESCO world-heritage site. Wednesday 29 August, we fly to the Galapagos for an eight-day cruise on a chartered yacht. We sail in search of “Darwin’s finches”, Waved Albatross, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins and the full diversity of endemic wildlife, including Galapagos tortoises and marine iguanas.

Returning to Quito on Wednesday 5 September, the next day we visit the Antisana Ecological Reserve (over 4,000m) on the high paramo plateau to observe Andean specialties, including Andean Condor and Black-faced Ibis.

We depart Quito for our return to Vancouver on Friday 7 September.


COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will be in $US (the currency of Ecuador) and include international airfare (Vancouver-Quito-Vancouver), all hotels, transfers, lodges, Galapagos cruise (if selected), airfares within Ecuador, guides, park entrances, and service fees, etc. - but not some miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities.

We are arranging for first-rate bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above – and still be thrilled by these Ecuadorian experiences.



IMPORTANT – Register now: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details:


 

The first leg of this tour focuses on the Eastern Andes. After your first night in Colombia, wake up in bustling Bogotá and travel a short distance into the wet páramo habitat of Chingaza National Park where you will search the moist, epiphyte laden cloud forest trees for dazzling tanagers and rare endemic birds, stopping at the La Calera Hummingbird Garden on the way back to the hotel for a taste of the amazing variety of hummingbirds Colombia has to offer. The next day you will bird at local wetlands of La Florida and Lake Tabacal for Bogotá savannah endemics, before dropping down in elevation to the dry forests of the Magdalena Valley the following day.

The next leg of the tour takes you to the Caribbean coast and the towering Santa Marta mountains. Fly to Cartagena and explore the lush botanical gardens before taking in the city cultural shows and then moving onto the coastal cities of Barranquilla and Santa Marta. Then you will climb up from the humid coastal lowlands into the clear mountain air of the Santa Marta mountains where the world famous birding lodge of the El Dorado Reserve is located. Due to its isolation and height, the pristine montane forest around El Dorado holds one of the highest densities of endemics of any spot in the entire world, including the Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Antpitta, and Rusty-headed Spinetail. After 3 nights at this fabulous lodge you will descend through the humid tropical forest at middle elevations before finishing the tour in the dry Guajira Peninsula and Flamencos National Park before returning to Bogotá.

 

 

Day 1. Arrival to Bogotá / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 2. Chingaza National Park and La Calera Hummingbird Garden / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 3. La Florida Park, Lake Tabacal and the Enchanted Garden / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 4. Mana Dulce Reserve (Humid Tropical and Dry Forest of Magdalena Valley) / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 5. Flight to Cartagena de Indias, birding in Cartagena Botanical Garden and Culture Shows at night in Wallet City / Night in Cartagena - Hotel Corales de Indias

Day 6. Birding all day in Tubará Natural Reserve and Puerto Velero / Night in Barranquilla

Day 7. Isla Salamanca National Park, KM4 Dry Forest, transfer to Santa Marta / Night in Santa Marta - Costa Azul Hotel

Day 8. Tayrona National Park, then transfer El Dorado Reserve in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta / Night in El Dorado Lodge

Day 9. El Dorado Reserve and San Lorenzo Ridge (medium elevations of Santa Marta Mountains) / Night in El Dorado Lodge

Day 10. El Dorado Reserve and San Lorenzo Ridge (medium elevations of Santa Marta Mountains) / Night in El Dorado Lodge

Day 11. El Dorado reserve and Minca Humid Tropical Forest, transfer to Riohacha city with birding in Caricari / Night in Riohacha - Taroa Hotel

Day 12. Birding Flamencos National Park and Wayuu Community Dry Forest (cultural show of Wayuu Indigenous in the afternoon) / Night in Riohacha - Taroa Hotel

Day 13. Birding in Playas de Mayapo, flight to Bogota / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 14. International flight home

Tour Leader - Ana Gonzalez-Prieto Born and raised in Colombia, Ana is an enthusiastic person, passionate about birds and people. She obtained her degree in Biology in Colombia, where she studied the distribution of birds between 400 and 4000 m in the Central Andes. After graduating she studied endangered species of parakeets and birded many remote areas in her natal country. She migrated to North America in 2006 where she became a bird bander and worked as the bander-in charge at the Klamath Bird Observatory, the Delta Marsh Bird Observatory, and then at the Long Point Bird Observatory. Her passion for birds has also taken her birding and banding in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, and Honduras. In 2012 she graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Masters degree in Science, which combined with an ever growing fascination for bird migration, led to her starting a Ph.D at the University of Saskatchewan in fall 2013. As a result, she now migrates back to Colombia every winter where she spends five months birding and studying the overwinter ecology of Neotropical migrants in the Andean forests.

*COSTS: Costs are not yet available but prices will include international airfare (Vancouver-Bogota-Vancouver), all hotels, transfers, lodges, airfares within Colombia, guides, park entrances and service fees, etc. - but not some miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities. We are arranging for first-rate bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above – and still be thrilled by these Colombian experiences.

**REGISTRATION: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details:


This tour focuses on the megadiverse Western Andes and Pacific lowlands of the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot. We will start the tour by flying to Cali for the first leg of the tour, visiting the renowned KM18 Reserve and the Anchicaya Canyon, as well as local Hummingbird and Tanager gardens, where a myriad of brightly colored birds will dazzle you. Then we will climb into the Western Andes and visit the Montezuma Nature Reserve in Tatamá National Park. This untouched park is one of the best birding destination in Colombia, with endemics such as the Golden-ringed Tanager, Black-and-Gold Tanager, Beautiful Jay, and the recently described and critically endangered Munchique Wood Wren, to name a few.

After the incredible diversity of the Western Andes you can relax in the Pacific lowlands of Chocó. After arriving in Bahia Solano and settling into the exquisite El Almejal Ecolodge you will bird the trail around El Valle seeing species such as the Baudo Oropendula, Saffron-headed Parrot, Chocó Toucan, and Great Green Macaws, and follow a hot morning's birding exploring the beaches to search for nesting sea turtles. Then you will move down the coast to gorgeous Utria National Park, where Humpback Whales visit to give birth in September, and where you may encounter birds such as Great Curassows, Brown Wood Rails and the enigmatic Broad-billed Sapayoa. You will finish the tour traveling through Bahia Solano and returning to Bogotá.

 

 

Day 1. Arrival to Bogota / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 2. Flight to Cali, KM 18 Reserve and Finca Alejandria Hummingbird Garden, transfer Queremal Village - El Campanario Hotel

Day 3 & 4. Anchicaya Canyon and Queremal Hummingbird and Tanager Garden / Night in Queremal Village - El Campanario Hotel

Day 5. Laguna de Sonso Sanctuary Fauna and Flora, transfer to Montezuma Nature Reserve in Tatama National Park / Night in Montezuma Lodge

Day 6 & 7. Montezuma Natural Reserve, Tatamá National Park / Night in Montezuma Lodge

Day 8. Montezuma, flight to Medellin / Night in Medellin - Porton Medellin

Day 9. Flight to Bahia Solano, birding on the road Bahia - El Valle / Night in El Almejal Ecolodge

Day 10. Birding in El Valle Road all day and Rio Tundo Path (exploring for sea turtles) / Night in El Almejal Ecolodge

Day 11. Birding on the path El valle - Utria all day / Night in El Almejal Ecolodge

Day 12. Transfer by boat to Utria National Park (exploring for humpback whales and dolphins), birding in Mangroves of Utria / Night in Utria National park cabins

Day 13. Utria National Park and Cocalito Trail / Night in Utria National park cabins

Day 14. Utria National Park then transfer to Bahia Solano and flight to Medellin - Bogota / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 15. International Flight to Canada

Tour Leader - Dr. David Bradley Raised in East Africa, David has been a birder for as long as he can remember. Currently he works as the British Columbia Program Manager at Bird Studies Canada, where he came after completing a postdoc at the BSC head office in Ontario and the University of Guelph on migration and breeding phenology in Tree Swallows. Although his PhD was conducted in New Zealand on the ecology and conservation of the endangered and endemic North Island Kokako, David has also been involved in several behavioral studies of Neotropical birds in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. He is currently working on several ornithological field studies in BC, including an invasive mammalian predator study in Haida Gwaii, one of his favourite natural environments, and a Long-billed Curlew migration tracking study in the Kootenay Mountains. Married to Colombian, David makes frequent visits there and has birded widely in this sensational birding destination, including to both the Santa Marta mountains and the Chocó coast.

*COSTS: Costs are not yet available but prices will include international airfare (Vancouver-Bogota-Vancouver), all hotels, transfers, lodges, airfares within Colombia, guides, park entrances and service fees, etc. - but not some miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities. We are arranging for first-rate bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above – and still be thrilled by these Colombian experiences.

**REGISTRATION: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details:

 

"Sponsored and led by British Columbia Field Ornithologists"

Day 1, Monday 27 August:

We depart Vancouver in the early morning by road and head for our primary destination, E.C. Manning Provincial Park, 70,844 hectares in the heart of the Cascade Mountains of British Columbia (elevation ~1,200m). After travelling the full length of the Lower Fraser Valley we will start our ascent into the mountains passing the famous Hope Slide, a short distance east of the town of Hope. Along the way, at a couple of Fraser Valley hotspots, we will sample lower elevation species typical of riparian forests and wetlands. Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks and Hooded Mergansers are typical waterfowl, with a chance for Cinnamon Teal. Passerines will include Western Wood Pewees, Steller’s Jays, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Bullock’s Orioles. Gaining elevation as we head toward the Park, we will cross the transition from wet coastal zones to the Interior Dry Douglas-fir zone. Once in the Park in the early afternoon, the diverse landscapes will offer many species of birds in habitats varying from riparian thickets and coniferous forests, to open, sub-alpine meadows. At Sumallo Grove, a stand of huge, ancient Douglas-fir and Western red cedar, we will look for typical rainforest species including Varied Thrush, Western Tanager, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pacific Wren, and Vaux’s Swift. We’ll be listening for Sooty Grouse, and on the Skagit River at this location, we may find an American Dipper. Continuing to gain elevation to around 1200 m, we’ll look for species more typical of the mountains such as Townsend’s Solitaires, Western Tanagers, McGillivray’s and Townsend’s Warblers, Pine Grosbeaks and perhaps crossbills. Check-in for the night at the Manning Park Resort, dinner and bird-lists.

Day 2, Tuesday 28 August:

Early morning birding before breakfast. Then, our first priority will be to gain elevation to about 2,000m at the base of Blackwall Peak. We’ll drive the mountain access road stopping frequently on the way up, to look and listen for, among other species, Boreal Chickadees, Clark’s Nutcrackers, Gray Jays, Spruce Grouse, Dusky (rare) and Sooty Grouse (these two species’ ranges overlap here). From the Cascade Lookout we’ll enjoy truly spectacular mountain views. After a picnic lunch, we will spend some time walking the Heather Trail as it winds through the sub-alpine meadows, not only looking for birds but also for mammals such as hoary marmots, before we head down again to continue exploring the park’s rich variety of habitats. Barrow’s Goldeneyes are possible on the lakes, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Red-naped and Red-breasted sapsuckers are possible in the forests. In the park there is always the chance to see black bears. Mule deer are common. Columbian ground squirrels are abundant. River otters may be seen in the lakes, and beavers, while common, are largely nocturnal. If time allows, we’ll take the short drive down toward Princeton to explore the Ponderosa Pine, Interior Douglas-fir zone to find species typical of the Dry Interior such as Dusky Grouse, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, Vesper Sparrows, and White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches. Second night at the Manning Park Resort, dinner and bird-lists.

Day 3, Wednesday 29 August:

Early morning birding before breakfast. Departure back to Vancouver (arrival early afternoon).


Costs:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, accommodations, guides, and some meals. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.

Birding Ability and Physical Fitness:

We are arranging for locally experienced bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above - and still be thrilled by this experience.
Walking will be over relatively flat trails with mostly gentle inclines. A low to moderate level of fitness is all that will be required.

What to Bring and Expect: 

We will be in high mountain terrain where, even in August, weather can change suddenly and dramatically. Be prepared with multiple layers of clothing, which can be added and removed to match the conditions. Rain is possible, wind likely, and in sunny conditions the UV index can be extremely high. Sunscreen is a necessity. The need for bug spray will depend on the season’s conditions. If you are sensitive to mosquito bites, bring repellent.

Important:

Register now: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details.


 

Situated in spectacular Rocky Mountain foothills landscapes, Tumbler Ridge in northeastern British Columbia is a premier dinosaur location, part of UNESCO’s Global Geopark Network, and a fabulous place to go birding.

Departing Vancouver early morning, a flight of less than 2 hours takes us to Fort St John, followed by a 2-hour drive to Tumbler Ridge. En route, we will sample the richest birding locations the area has to offer. All three nights will be spent in Tumbler Ridge at the Trend Mountain Hotel and Conference Centre, with birding and dinosaur-focused trips to a variety of locations.

Home to some of the world’s oldest fossil bird trackways (early Cretaceous) and theropod dinosaur trackways, including the only known tyrannosaur trackways, this tour is a unique opportunity to appreciate birds past and present. We will observe the outcomes of avian evolution in both the recent and distant past. We will visit dinosaur tracksites of the Mesozoic age, as well as the location that provided the evidence for the split of Winter Wren and Pacific Wren in North America – a divergence that took place during the Pleistocene.

As part of the tour we’ll get a behind-the-scenes visit to the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery where we’ll meet the paleontologists and learn first hand about the important dinosaur discoveries being made in the area.

Over 240 species of birds have been recorded in Tumbler Ridge’s diverse habitats, which range from subalpine and alpine tundra, to low-elevation mixed forests, through wetlands, lakes, rivers, canyons, and prairie. As glaciers retreated after the last Ice Age, the Tumbler Ridge area became the meeting place of eastern and western species that were isolated in separate refugia during the Pleistocene. As a result, interesting species pairs are found that include Townsend’s (western) and Black-throated Green (eastern) Warblers, MacGillivray’s (western) and Mourning (eastern) Warblers, and both Myrtle and Audubon’s forms of Yellow-rumped Warblers. In August few birds to be singing, but they will be calling. There will be many young birds and some early movements of migrants taking place. While focusing on the birds, field trips will also incorporate spectacular waterfall destinations and mountain scenery.

We will have easy access to the alpine to look for White-tailed and Willow Ptarmigans and Gray-crowned Rosy Finches. Lower down we’ll look for Dusky Grouse. Black Terns may be seen on the wetlands, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Boreal Chickadees and White-winged Crossbills in the forests.

In the evenings we will be treated to northern BC hospitality, including a welcome reception, a dinosaur footprint tour by lantern-light, and a barbecue featuring a local and traditional menu.



COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and some meals. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

We are arranging for locally experienced bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above - and still be thrilled by this experience.

Both visual skills and aural skills will be needed. A moderate level of fitness will be required. Most field trips will involve fairly short and level walks on trails, but the alpine excursion will involve elevation gain and loss of 400 meters.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Unless the weather is unseasonably wet or stormy, expect to dress for warm summer conditions with a couple of extra layers in case it is cooler at higher elevation. Rain is possible, so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions in the mountains require sunscreen. The need for bug spray will depend on the season's conditions, but if you are sensitive to mosquito bites, bring repellent.

IMPORTANT – Register now: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details:


 

Sponsored and led by British Columbia Field Ornithologists

Wild seas, rugged coastlines, beautiful beaches and towering temperate rain forests await us on Vancouver Island’s west coast – the stepping-off point for IOCongress2018’s pelagic birding adventure. Our expedition is focused on the spectacular birdlife of the eastern Pacific, but participants can also expect encounters with other marine fauna, including cetaceans and pinnipeds that gather in these areas of rich oceanic upwelling.

Jeff ReynoldsBoarding our seaplane in Vancouver harbor outside the conference venue, will be the start of a stunning flight to our destination Bamfield on Vancouver Island’s west coast and the open Pacific Ocean. Accommodation will be in the Bamfield Marine Station and a local hotel.

Using two boats from the Bamfield Marine Station we will depart early morning heading offshore for the Swiftsure and La Perouse banks. Near shore species will likely include Brandt’s, Pelagic, and Double-crested Cormorants, Mew, California, Thayer’s, Western and Glaucous-winged gulls, along with Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Marbled Murrelets, and Rhinoceros Auklets.

Offshore, things will pick up rapidly from about five kilometers out with Sooty Shearwaters starting the Black-footed Albatross - Caleb Putnamparade of pelagic specialists. Black-footed Albatrosses, Northern Fulmars, Pink-footed Shearwaters, and Fork-tailed Storm Petrels can all be reasonably expected, with chances of seeing rarer pelagics such as Flesh-footed, Buller’s, and Manx shearwaters, and Leach’s Storm Petrels especially when birding the bank edges. Other possibilities, inshore and offshore, include Tufted Puffins, South Polar Skua, Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed jaegers, Sabine’s Gulls, Red-necked and Red phalaropes, Red-throated, Pacific and Common loons.

Depending on demand, we will offer boat trips on one, or on two days. In the event we have sufficient numbers, participants will be divided into two groups alternating a day on the water with a day on shore exploring the natural history and marine life of this beautiful coastal area. A minimum of two nights in Bamfield should be anticipated.



COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and some meals. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

We are arranging for expert pelagic birding guides and naturalist guides to accompany all groups, both offshore and onshore. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above – and still be thrilled by this experience.

We will be on the open Pacific Ocean where boats may encounter heavy swells and rough conditions. Precautions should be taken to avoid seasickness. A moderate level of fitness is all that will be required. Most land excursions will involve fairly short and level walks through forests, on trails, and along beaches.


WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT
:

Offshore weather can be unpredictable. We advise bringing rain gear, wearing a hat layering clothing that can be added and removed to deal with changing conditions on the water, and on land. Sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended, as glare from the ocean surface can be significant.

Additional details regarding seasickness prevention and clothing suggestions will be provided following registration.


IMPORTANT – REGISTER NOW!

These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation, and we will keep you updated on details.