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 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.