CONGRESS TOURS: DAY TOURS

Your Local Organizing Committee and Affiliates have arranged an array of unique and unforgettable tour options for IOCongress2018 delegates.

The customized mid-Congress tours on Friday August 24th will showcase birds in local alpine, forest, wetland, and coastal habitats. Download the checklist of birds in the Metro Vancouver Area/Lower Mainland during the Congress.

SPESial multi-day pre- and post-Congress tours will venture further afield in British Columbia, other regions of Canada, and down to Colombia and Ecuador. All these tour offerings have been created by team members with extensive guiding experience SPESially for IOCongress2018. Click on the tours you are interested in below for more details.

Tour bookings will open in January/February, 2018 - keep checking back for updates!

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DAY TOURS


PRINCE OF WHALES TOURS & Activities
VALID NOVEMBER 6, 2017 - AUGUST 31, 2018

Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime with Prince of Whales whale watching tours, while learning more about the wonders of Vancouver's surrounding waters. 

Enter the SPESial promo code IOCongress for 10% discount when booking any of the following tours only:

Packages:

  • The Ultimate Day Tour
  • The Northbound Adventure Crossing

Activities:

  • Vancouver Half-Day Ocean Magic Whale Watching Adventures
  • The Southbound Adventure Crossing
  • Sea Vancouver Waterfront Sightseeing Adventures
  • Victoria Zodiac Whale Watching Adventures
  • Victoria Sunset Zodiac Whale Watching Adventures
  • Victoria Ocean Magic II Whale Watching Adventures
  • The Whales & Gardens Tour
  • The Butchart Gardens to Vancouver Adventure Crossing
BOOKING:

Visit the Prince of Whales website for more details on their tours and activities.

COSTS:

Indicated on each tour on the Prince of Whales website.
Use promo code IOCongress when booking for 10% discount.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Wear layers as it does get quite cold on the water. Sunglasses, sunblock, insect repellent, your camera!



NORTH SHORE MOUNTAINS DAY TOUR
AUGUST 24, 2018

Sponsored and led by British Columbia Field Ornithologists

Vancouver’s northern skyline is dominated by the towering North Shore Mountains. Easily accessed from downtown, the journey from sea level to 1,000 meters takes about 30 minutes. However, we will take a more leisurely excursion enjoying a number of stops for birding at various locations and elevations. 

We will leave Vancouver early morning, drive through Stanley Park, and access the North Shore via the Lions Gate bridge over the First Narrows, which connects Burrard Inlet to English Bay. There are many birding locations on the North Shore and we will select the most promising, based on up-to-date, local knowledge. Birding opportunities will range from rocky shorelines, to lowland and mountain forests with short walks at both lower and higher elevations. As we gain elevation, we’ll stop at viewpoints to bird and enjoy SPEStacular vistas of the city of Vancouver, Mount Baker in Washington State, and to the south and west, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.

Two provincial parks, Cypress (3,012 hectares), and Seymour Mountain (3,509 hectares) occupy large tracts of the North Shore Mountains. The coastal western hemlock zone characterizes the lower slopes where old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar are interspersed with second-growth conifers, deciduous trees, and a variety of shrubs. The mountain hemlock zone, 1,000 meters and above, is characterized mostly by amabilis fir, yellow cedar and mountain hemlock.

SPESies we’ll particularly be looking for include: Sooty Grouse, Pelagic Cormorant, Osprey, Band-tailed Pigeon, Pigeon Guillemot, Black and Vaux’s Swifts, Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Steller’s and Gray Jays, Purple Martin, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Swainson’s, Hermit Thrushes and Varied Thrushes, and Black-throated Gray and Townsend’s Warblers. Passerine migration at this time of year can offer a large variety of SPESies and some surprises.

Black bears are possible, which will require participants to maintain close contact with the group when walking mountain trails. Douglas squirrels, and varying hares are the most likely small mammals we will see. Sightings of short-tailed weasels are possible.

Finish at a quayside pub in North Vancouver featuring local beer and food; return on your own to downtown Vancouver by the scenic SeaBus across the Burrard Inlet (~15 minutes).

Boxed lunches will be provided.

COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and lunch. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, 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.

A moderate level of fitness is all that will be required. At least one loop trail of approximately 3-4kms will be included. Trails will be mostly 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 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.



BANDING & BIRDING AT IONA BEACH REGIONAL PARK
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Sponsored and WildResearch.

Iona Island Bird Observatory (IIBO): The IIBO banding station was started in 2010 to monitor how birds use the Iona Beach Regional Park (IBRP), to provide estimates of survival and population trends, and to create training and educational opportunities for members of the community. IIBO is a volunteer-based program that uses the power of citizen science to conduct research on birds and their habitat. We operate three programs throughout the year: Migration Monitoring in spring and fall, and Winter Monitoring. IIBO serves as WildResearch’s flagship program, yielding the highest number of volunteer and member contributions of all our programs.

Iona Beach Regional Park (IBRP): Coined as “a birder’s paradise” and “one of the best places within the urban core for bird watching” by CBC, the park attracts thousands of visitors, in particular bird watchers, recreating in the area to enjoy nature. This urban park is in close proximity (15-minute drive) to the city centre and receives foot traffic from numerous visitors everyday. IBRP is situated on the Pacific Flyway, which is a major north-south flyway for migratory birds extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every year, migratory birds travel along this flyway, following food sources, heading to breeding grounds or overwintering sites. IBRP functions as one of these stopover sites on the Pacific Flyway where tens of thousands of birds use to rest and feed.

Attendees will receive a two-fold experience: birding within IBRP and a banding demonstration at IIBO. Birding will be guided by WildResearch’s own local expert birders, where attendees will see a variety of songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and seabirds in the Pacific West Coast. Banding demonstration will be led by WildResearch’s long-time banding technicians, where we will provide a first-hand look at aging and sexing techniques, feather molting patterns, SPESies identification, and the general operation of our banding station.

TENTATIVE AGENDA:
6:00AM Bus departs from the Vancouver Convention Centre
6:30AM Arrival at the Iona Beach Regional Park (IBRP) parking lot, followed by a short 10-minute walk to the Iona Island Bird Observatory (IIBO) banding station.
6:45AM – 7:30AM Attendees enjoy a breakfast snack provided by WildResearch (baking, coffee, tea), while we give a short introduction about WildResearch, IIBO, and IBRP as a birding hotspot in Metro Vancouver.
7:30AM – 10:30AM Attendees are split into two groups and will alternate activities halfway through.
  • Group 1: IIBO banding station – attendees observe and take part in our banding operations, including bird extraction from nets, close-up examination of feather molts, aging and sexing, and SPESies identification.
  • Group 2: Birding nearby the IIBO banding station guided by a local bird expert – attendees can expect to see a diversity of bird SPESies using the various habitats at IBRP, including shrubs, deciduous trees, marshes, and shallow ponds.
10:30AM – 12:00PM Local bird expert guides all attendees to bird along the tidal shorelines. Attendees can expect to see a variety of shorebird, waterfowl, and raptor SPESies.
12:00PM – 1:30PM Lunch time, followed by free time to bird around the park.
1:30PM Bus departs from Iona.
2:00PM Arrive back in the Vancouver Convention Centre
COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, breakfast snack, lunch and guides.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Locally experienced guides will accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above - and still be informed and engaged by this experience.

A low level of fitness is all that will be required. Trails are unpaved gravel but flat and we will travel slowly to more fully experience the Nature.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:
  • Warm layered clothing – IBRP is slightly cool in the early morning, but will progressively heat up as we reach noon
  • Light rain jacket is recommended as rain is possible
  • Rubber boots or waterproof shoes – grass can be wet from dew in the early morning
  • Binoculars and cameras
  • Water and coffee mug 


Anticipated list of bird SPESies to be captured in late August (asterisk indicates common SPESies):

  • American Robin
  • Black-capped Chickadee*
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • Common Yellowthroat*
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Fox Sparrow*
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet*
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow*
  • Hermit Thrush
  • House Finch*
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow*
  • Marsh Wren
  • Orange-crowned Warbler*
  • Oregon Junco
  • Pacific Wren*
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Purple Finch
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet*
  • Northern Flicker
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler*
  • Yellow Warbler*


In addition to the bird SPESies above, during our guided birding tour at IBRP attendees can also expect: 

  • American Wigeon
  • American Golden-Plover
  • Bank Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Black Turnstone
  • Black-bellied Plover
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Cackling Goose
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Common Tern
  • Common Merganser
  • Common Loon
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Gadwall
  • Greater Scaup
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Greater Yellowleg
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Lapland Longspur
  • Least Sandpiper
  • Lesser Yellowleg
  • Mew Gull
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Pintail
  • Parasitic Jaeger
  • Pelagic Cormorant
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Sanderling
  • Surf Scoter
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Wandering Tattler
  • Western Grebe
  • Western Meadowlark
  • Western Sandpiper
  • White-winged Scoter


BIRDING & OWL ON BOUNDARY BAY, FRASER DELTA
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Delta Naturalists and other partners. 

Our tour bus departs the Vancouver Convention Centre, downtown Vancouver, at 08:00 am and heads south for an hour to Boundary Bay, a 750 sq.km, shallow, marine system stretching along the south shore of the Fraser River Delta, adjacent to the Canada-US border. This delta forms one of the richest ecosystems for migrant and wintering water birds in Canada. Several million birds stop on migration as they journey along the Pacific Flyway, and over 330 avian SPESies have been recorded within the watershed. The diverse ecosystems include sand and mud flats, eelgrass meadows, salt marshes, estuarine marshes with sedge, cattails, and bulrush, and deeper tidal waters. Adjacent open-soil agricultural fields within the municipalities of Delta and Surrey provide important habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and birds of prey.

The Fraser River Delta “Important Bird Area” is designated for its globally and/or continentally significant populations of fifteen SPESies including ducks, geese, swans, shorebirds, gulls and the fannini subSPESies of Great Blue Heron, and for nationally-significant populations of Barn Owl and Peregrine Falcon. Boundary Bay forms part of the Fraser River Estuary Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Hemispheric Site, and the 20,682 ha Fraser Delta Ramsar Site, a Wetland of International Significance, as well as a provincial Wildlife Management Area.

The extensive dykes bordering Boundary Bay separate tidal waters from the low-lying farmland and communities to the north. The big tidal range can make it difficult to watch shorebirds in summer, as the high tides needed to bring the birds close to shore occur most frequently in the late evening and early morning. As the tides are not ideal on the day of our tour, we will focus on spotting some of the bird SPESies along the dyke area and in the old-field grasslands, as well as tap expert insight into the complexities of this rich ecosystem and its management.

Our first tour stop will be at a popular location for bird watching in the municipality of Delta. Local naturalists will assist us finding migratory sandpipers, raptors and songbirds. Next, we venture to the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL). The facility houses 15 different SPESies of raptors, which are permanent residents due to injuries that inhibit their survival in the wild. Participants will tour the facility and have an opportunity to meet live raptors up close.

The next stop is for a lunch and a tour of Boundary Bay Regional Park. After a picnic near the beach, park staff will provide an introduction about the management strategies used to preserve habitat in Boundary Bay Regional Park. The assemblage of marine foreshore, old field, and rare coastal sand dune habitats provide for a wide diversity of bird SPESies including songbirds, raptors, herons, gulls, and shorebirds, some of which are SPESies of conservation concern. Staff from the Corporation of Delta and volunteers from the park association will join us to provide further insights during a 3 km walk through the park as we observe songbirds, Great Blue Heron, resident Northern Harrier and summering Caspian Tern.

We return to Vancouver by bus, arriving back at the Vancouver Convention Centre at approximately 5:30pm. 

COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices include all guides, transportation, admissions, lunch, and snacks.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

We will be accompanied by experienced local bird guides and naturalists. Participants can be birders, photographers, naturalists, or learners. 

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Binoculars, small backpack, water bottle, camera, hat, sunglasses, pen and notebook. Scopes will be provided. Even in August, the weather in Vancouver can change suddenly. Be prepared with multiple layers of clothing, which can be added and removed to match the conditions. Rain is possible, so you can bring a poncho that can fit in your pack, wind is likely, and in sunny conditions the UV index can be high. Sunscreen and a chap stick are necessities. Mosquito repellent is also a good idea.



SQUAMISH SEE-TO-SKY-TO-SEA BIRD TOUR 
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Sea to Sky GondolaThe sea to sky tour takes you from Vancouver to the mouth of the Squamish river and local mountains, on the diverse, traditional territory of the Squamish First Nation. The morning drive alone is SPEStacular, as we wind along the famous “Sea to Sky” Highway along the eastern side of Howe Sound with remarkable mountain views. We will leave Vancouver early in the morning to make the 1-hour drive to our first major stop at the Squamish River Estuary. We will have a leisurely walk along the coastal forest, wetlands, marshes trails with local guides and enjoy views of Howe Sound. From here will we will also have a stunning view of the Stawamus Chief, a huge granite dome always busy with climbers. After the early morning stroll in the estuary, we will be board our bus and head back through downtown Squamish to the Sea to Sky Gondola. A quick ride up the gondola will take us from sea-level to 890m where we will have panoramic views of Howe Sound and the Squamish Valley. We will meet our mountain guide and will start off with a walk through the trails for SPESies that are found at this high-elevation forest. We will return for lunch at the gondola restaurant looking over all of Howe Sound and adjacent mountain ranges. After lunch, we will do another tour of the along the Spirit Trail. Highlights include the breathtaking views and learning about the rich Squamish First Nation history that surrounds us and the local alpine ecology, as well as more bird watching! 

Finally, we must leave the sky and head to the sea! Once back at sea level, we will be transported by bus to a nearby dock to embark on our sea-safari of Howe Sound all the way back to Vancouver! This afternoon tour will not only look for birds on the water, shoreline and islands, but may also give us a chance to see dolphin or whales, seals, and sealions. To top off this day, you will get privileged views as you head back into Vancouver passing by the famous Stanley Park, under the Lion’s Gate Bridge and back into Vancouver harbour around dinner time.

COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, morning snack and lunch. Miscellaneous local costs such as extra snacks, alcoholic drinks, 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.

A moderate level of fitness is all that will be required. Loop trails will vary from flat for beginner/ intermediate with few steep sections.

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. Sturdy shoes are required for mountain trails, and hiking poles may be useful.



BLACKIE SPIT PARK/HARMONY FARM TOUR
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Co-hosted by the White Rock Surrey Naturalists.
Click here to read John Gordon's biography.

This tour will include Blackie Spit, an urban park featuring wildlife protected areas and Harmony Farm a privately owned ten acre nature preserve. 

Experience Canadian hospitality at its best as you are given a warm welcome at Harmony Farm. Enjoy strolling through the meadows, around the natural ponds and through the forest by a stream. 

Birds you are likely to observe are: Pileated, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Rufous sided Towhees, Wood Ducks, Chickadees, Black Headed Grosbeaks, Mourning Doves, Willow and Pacific-slope Flycatchers and Stellar Jays. 
Take part in a photography session hosted by John Gordon, a well-known wildlife photographer. John will talk about how to shoot better bird pictures with a chance for guests to photograph birds on site. Time permitting, John will present a slide show “Where to Bird on the Lower Mainland”. 

For lunch step inside the owners authentic handcrafted log home featured in numerous movies and TV series and enjoy a traditional First Nations Bannock and Salmon lunch. 

Blackie Spit Park, named after Walter Blackie, an early settler, offers panoramic views of Boundary Bay and Vancouver’s Northshore mountains. It is one of Surrey’s only marine front parks with a range of habitat attracting almost 200 SPESies in a calendar year. Fall migrants start arriving in late August and you can expect to see Long-Billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Black Bellied Plover, Western Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs and other seasonal migrating birds. 

Blackie Spit Park and Harmony Farm are less than an hour's drive from Vancouver.



CH'IYAKMESH RIVER VALLEY BIRDING & CULTURAL TOUR
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Our tour takes place at Cheakamus Centre, an overnight environmental education facility located on 420 acres of ecological reserve in the Cheakamus River Valley, an easy 1 hour drive from Vancouver along the scenic Sea to Sky highway. The Centre boasts nature trails, wild salmon streams, ancient cedars, and over 3 kilometres of private river frontage. The property is home to some of the largest recorded concentration of wintering bald eagles in North America, as well as the Dave Marshall Salmon Reserve that was established to protect critical habitat and spawning channels for five SPESies of pacific salmon. An amazing diversity of flora and fauna can be found in this nature sanctuary year-round. 

On arrival at Cheakamus Centre we will be greeted with a traditional Coast Salish Welcome, and get a glimpse into this fascinating culture through drumming and singing. After a brief orientation and fuel- up with freshly brewed coffee and home-baked goodies, we are off to explore the biodiversity of this temperate rainforest ecosystem. We will have leisurely guided walks in small groups along Cheakamus Centre’s vast network of forested trails and salmon spawning channels, with time to wander amongst 1000-year old cedar trees that hold SPESial significance for BC’s Indigenous peoples. 

Our morning will culminate with a visit to an authentic Coast Salish longhouse where we will spend the next two hours with Squamish Nation cultural interpreters learning about traditional arts and cooking practices. After a full morning of nature and cultural immersion, we will take a well-deserved break in the stunning Environmental Learning Centre (ELC). There will be time to relax and absorb the beautiful surroundings, while enjoying a Coast Salish-inspired salmon feast featuring fresh, locally sourced, seasonal menu items. Cheakamus Centre is committed to making environmentally- and socially-responsible decisions in all aSPESts of its operations. The ELC is a showcase for green building innovation, with its raised floor and treed setting that elevates visitors to the magic of the forest canopy. 
After lunch, we will continue to explore the many walking trails and pathways, with opportunities to spot numerous birds and other flora and fauna that call Cheakamus Centre home. Bus will depart from the Centre to be back in Vancouver in time for dinner. 

COSTS: Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, cultural program, and lunch. Proceeds from this tour support Cheakamus Centre’s environmental and indigenous programs for children and youth. 

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. A moderate level of fitness is all that will be required. Trails are relatively flat and easy for walking. 

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 in the forest. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions require sunscreen. The need for bug spray will depend on the season's conditions, but if you are sensitive to mosquito bites, bring repellent. Sturdy shoes are required for trails, and hiking poles may be useful.



vancouver avian research centre
bird monitoring & banding station
AUGUST 24, 2018 

The Vancouver Avian Research Centre conducts its bird monitoring, banding, and its public outreach in Colony Farm Regional Park. Situated at the confluence of the Coquitlam and Fraser Rivers, the Park protects some of the most ecologically diverse lands in the Greater Vancouver area.

The extensive old-field and riparian habitats within the Park represent high-value ecosystem features for resident and migrating birds. VARC operates up to 40 nets and traps and bands four days each week during the main season (spring and fall migration and the breeding season). 

VARC site visit
August is a wonderful time at VARC as migrants start to return south. At this time of year more than 90% of the birds captured are hatch year birds and with good diversity we expect to see the following SPESies during the month:

What can I expect at the station?
The main focus will be, of course, the birds and the program will be flexible to ensure you get maximum exposure to the birds and banding operation. It will, however include the following:

6.00 am

Bus departs from Vancouver Convention Centre (West Building)

6.45 am

Arrival at the VARC Banding Station in Colony Farm Regional Park

7.00 am

Breakfast will be provided at the station while listening to a 15-minute introductory presentation about VARC, its mandate and operations.

7.15 am until 11.30

Banding Operations - we will split into 2 groups, alternating activities.

- One group to accompany out Net Extractors on net rounds, observe net extraction and get an overview of station layout and operations.

-  Second group to remain at the banding pagoda and observe the banding (including ageing and sexing), receive our bird 'show and tell' on each SPESies and participate in releasing the birds.

11.30 am

A presentation will be given (again, in the tented and seated area) for about 30 minutes

12.00 noon

Lunch - if bird activity is high and continuing we may combine the presentation and lunch to maximize time with the birds

~2:00pm

Bus departs for return to Vancouver Convention Centre (West Building). Arrival at approx. 3:00pm

 
A maximum of 20 people will be able to attend a full morning at VARC’s banding station.

What are the facilities at the banding station?
We have a very visitor friendly set up with banding pagoda, picnic tables, coat and backpack racks and a wilderness eco-friendly washroom at the station

What should we bring?

  • Warm layered clothing – Colony Farm is a low-lying area and can be cold even in the summer months and eSPESially early in the morning
  • Rubber boots or waterproof shoes – The banding station is in the old field habitat and the grass can be quite wet eSPESially in the early morning
  • Binoculars and cameras
  • Water and coffee mug


What if it rains?
If the weather does not cooperate for some or all of the morning we will still offer the visit, the presentations and meals, but will focus more on birding than banding. Colony Farm is considered a birding hotspot in Vancouver and is a popular location for both local and visiting birders.

The old-fields and hedgerows provide habitat for Barn, Barred, Northern Saw-whet, Long-eared and Short-eared Owls, Great Blue Herons, American Bitterns and a wide variety of passerine and non-passerine bird SPESies including locally rare SPESies, such as Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor), Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena), Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus), and Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis). The agricultural fields are ideal habitat for a range of western North American sparrows including American Tree (Spizella arborea), Brewer’s (Spizella breweri), Chipping (Spizella passerina), Clay-colored (Spizella pallida), Swamp (Melospiza georgiana), Vesper (Poocetes gramineus), Savannah (Passerculus sandwichensis), Grasshopper (Ammodramus savannarum), Fox (Passerella iliaca), Song (Melospiza melodia)), Lincoln’s (Melospiza lincolnii), White-crowned (Zonotrichia leucophrys), Golden-crowned (Zonotrichia atricapilla) and White-throated (Zonotrichia albicollis) all of which have been banded in the park. Other rarities banded include Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma bendirei), Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis) and Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum). 7 of the 8 SPESies of North American swallows are also found in the park often in high numbers.

Field trip participants will be able to enjoy the avian highlights in areas of the park normally off-limits to the general public.

COSTS: Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, cultural program. 


About the VARC:

The Vancouver Avian Research Centre (VARC) was formally established by Derek & Carol Matthews in 2009. VARC is a registered Canadian charity and focuses on conducting year-round bird monitoring, banding and research. In addition to research activities, VARC provides extensive public outreach and education programs to raise awareness of environmental issues particularly as they relate to breeding and migratory birds. VARC also offers Schools & Youth Programs, Family Days, Bird Identification Courses, Bird Monitoring and Banding Workshops and provides speakers and experts for public events and media appearances

More information on VARC and its operations can be found online at: www.birdvancouver.com.



WESTHAM ISLAND, DELTA - WHERE FARMING & BIRDING MEET 
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Co-hosted by the Delta Naturalists Society, the British Columbia Waterfowl Society and the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust, this tour will focus on how habitat protection and stewardship initiatives unite to conserve birds on idyllic Westham Island, just outside Vancouver in the municipality of Delta. 

Westham Island consists of large family-owned farms, lands owned by conservation interests, and government-protected conservation lands such as the Alaksen National Wildlife Area and the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. If you want to visit a place with federal and provincial protected areas, Ramsar, WHSRN, and Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) site designations, plus witness the involvement of local landowners, land trusts, non-profit organizations, and many levels of government in the conservation of birds, this is a must see! There are many practicalities to address when managing farm fields, river hydrology, irrigation, wildlife, farm tourism, and ecotourism on this sea-level island and we will have a diverse team of experienced guides to answer your questions.

At this time of year, once you cross over the 100+ year old swing bridge overlooking charming floating homes to this island, the traffic dies down to birdwatchers and farming equipment. Local farms are getting ready for the fall harvest of crops such as corn and potatoes. After the harvest, though, from late September onwards, thousands of migrant waterfowl will start arriving to “time share” the land with the farmers over the winter months. At certain times, fields will be carpeted with tens of thousands of Lesser Snow Geese and other waterfowl looking for winter grazing, leftover crops and roost sites. All over Westham Island roadside birding is excellent over the winter.

Our tour will include a stop or two at private farms to experience a hands-on look at land stewardship programs of the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust (DF&WT). The DF&WT is a not-for-profit charitable organization established in 1993 and dedicated to promoting the preservation of farmland and associated wildlife habitat on the lower Fraser River delta, through sustainable farm practices and land stewardship. The Trust works with local farmers to invest in soil productivity and wildlife habitat enhancement. DF&WT also partners with government agencies involved with the management of agricultural and wildlife resources, other conservation organizations and post-secondary academic institutions.

Many local famers participate in DF&WT programs designed to sustain bird populations, biodiversity and agriculture. Two programs offered by the Trust that support a variety of bird SPESies include the Grassland Set-aside Stewardship Program and the Hedgerow Stewardship Program. DF&WT staff will showcase these two Stewardship Programs as well as provide background about the significance of agricultural land for wildlife habitat in the Fraser River delta. Many of the local farms also participate in the seasonal Winter Cover Crop Program, where fields are planted in winter grasses to enhance soil and provide wildlife-grazing habitat after the fall harvest.

The Alaksen National Wildlife Area (NWA) and the adjacent George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary are at the end of the road at the westernmost tip of the island, where the main channel of the Fraser River meets the Salish Sea and forms extensive estuarine marshes. The National Wildlife Area has a heritage farm look, with Environment and Climate Change Canada's Pacific Wildlife Research Centre (PWRC) housed in the former Reifel family house (circa 1920s) and adjacent additional buildings in the center of the NWA. It is surrounded by mature woodlots, farm fields with livestock or commercial crops shared with wildlife, and pathways along dykes lined by 100-year-old Douglas Firs overlooking the river and muddy tidal channels. Waterbirds such as herons, grebes, diving ducks, and cormorants are likely along the river, and conifers and woodlot areas hold good potential for forest songbirds. During the visit we will stop at the offices where Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Wildlife and Landscape Science Directorate (WLSD) staff undertake monitoring and research in support of conservation activities. Their studies are conducted and communicated within a national and international research community including wildlife, freshwater, landscape, seascape and atmospheric sciences, and include partnerships with universities, non-government conservation organizations and international research agencies. Staff of the Canadian Wildlife Service and Bird Studies Canada will join our tour to point out interesting SPESies, discuss their programs and management issues.

The next stop is the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, a very popular birding hotspot that hosts as many as 85,000 visitors a year. The British Columbia Waterfowl Society has managed the public use part of the Sanctuary since 1963, originally with the Reifel family and now through an agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada. At this stop, we will walk the beautiful nature trails along treed dykes overlooking fields, tidal marshes and managed ponds. Some of the wetlands are kept as shallow mudflats for shorebirds at this time of year. The observation tower 20 minutes walk from the entrance is a popular destination with SPEStacular views over the estuary. In August, birding is quieter than the rest of the year, as the majority of the Sanctuary’s SPESies and 90% of the waterbirds are off elsewhere, and return to visit from September to April. However, between 70 and 75 SPESies are usually present during August every year, as waves of late summer migrants pass through then. BCWS staff and volunteers will be available to outline Sanctuary management concepts, and show us a few of the seasonal feature creatures such as Sandhill Cranes, Purple Martins, and diverse shorebirds such as Yellowlegs and Dowitchers.

COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, entrance fees, a morning snack and lunch. Miscellaneous local costs such as extra snacks, drinks, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

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

A low level of fitness is all that will be required. Trails are unpaved gravel but flat and we will travel slowly to more fully experience the Nature.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Unless the weather is unseasonably wet or stormy, expect warm summer conditions but bring extra layers in case it is cooler on the trails. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions near the coast require sunscreen and a hat. The need for bug spray will depend on the season's conditions, but if you are sensitive to mosquito bites, bring repellent regardless. Good walking footwear, binoculars, and a camera are musts.



EXPLORE THE FRASER RIVER ESTUARY
ROBERTS BANK & THE LOWER FRASER RIVER
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Sponsored and led by the Delta Naturalists' Society
Tour leader: Conservationist, birder and author Anne Murray together with ornithological and conservation experts.

Roberts Bank, where the mighty Fraser River meets the marine waters of the Strait of Georgia, is a vitally important ecological area, frequented in season by hundreds of aquatic and terrestrial SPESies, including migratory waterfowl and shorebirds from three continents, raptors, songbirds, anadromous salmon and sturgeon, and marine mammals. The largest Great Blue Heron (ssp. fannini) colony on the B.C. coast is located on wooded bluffs overlooking the intertidal area. Innovative studies on the feeding ecology of Western Sandpiper are underway on the Roberts Bank mudflats, an area of urgent conservation concern.

Roberts Bank is a vital part of the Fraser estuary, recognized by three international conservation designations: Fraser River Delta Ramsar Site, Fraser River Estuary Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network Site (WHSRN), and Fraser River Estuary Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). The estuary is particularly significant for migrating Western Sandpiper; over 60% of the global population uses the IBA as a stopover between their nesting grounds in the Arctic and their wintering areas in South America. An important food source for them is the biofilm that grows on the surface of the mudflats. This easily digestible food fuels the final major leg of their spring journey to the Arctic tundra.

Roberts Bank is also the location of a BC Ferries terminal servicing Vancouver Island, and a Port of Vancouver container port and coal terminal. Low-lying delta lands around Roberts Bank lie within the jurisdiction of the Tsawwassen First Nation, the Musqueam Nation, and the municipality of Delta, and the waters to the south are crossed by the border with Washington State, USA. The floodplain lands, formerly marsh and farmland, now have multiple uses: residential communities, transportation corridors, farming, port services, and other commercial activities. The impact of numerous anthropogenic changes to the environment provides constant conservation challenges, which will be discussed during our tour.

Our first stop on this guided tour will be at Deas Island Regional Park to view the lower reaches of the South Arm of the Fraser River. We will then drive through Delta to Tsawwassen, and visit the Great Blue Heron colony to see if any birds remain on their nests. As we visit the salt marsh on Tsawwassen First Nations land, we will be able to view herons feeding in the eelgrass beds on the intertidal area of Roberts Bank. After our picnic lunch, we will drive to Brunswick Point at the mouth of the Fraser River. Here tidal mudflats and estuarine marshes stretch into the Strait of Georgia, providing a rich habitat for many SPESies of birds. At this part of Roberts Bank, there will be time to take a leisurely stroll along the dyke, while we observe scenery, birds, and a variety of habitat types, while we hear about research initiatives, habitat management, and a variety of conservation issues.

From cottonwood-lined river bank, to salt marsh, eelgrass, mudflat, and farmland, join us as we journey through the fascinating landscape around Roberts Bank in the Fraser estuary.

COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, entrance fees, a morning snack and lunch. Miscellaneous local costs such as extra snacks, drinks, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

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

A low level of fitness is all that will be required. Trails are unpaved gravel but flat and we will travel slowly.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Unless the weather is unseasonably wet or stormy, expect warm summer conditions but bring extra layers in case it is cooler on the trails. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions near the coast require sunscreen and a hat. The need for bug spray will depend on the season's conditions, but if you are sensitive to mosquito bites, bring repellent regardless. Good walking footwear, binoculars and a camera are musts.



NATURE VANCOUVER NV1: ICONIC VANCOUVER CITY PARKS TOUR
AUGUST 24, 2018 

The chapter numbers (in brackets) beside locations in these three field trips offered by Nature Vancouver indicate the corresponding chapters in The Birder's Guide to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, where you will find details of the occurrence and abundance of bird SPESies at each location.

A guided bus tour to explore three of the most well-established, productive and popular parks within the city limits of Vancouver: Queen Elizabeth Park (Chapter 4), Jericho Park (Chapter 3), Pacific Spirit Park (Chapter 2). The number of SPESies reported in August in eBird in the last 10 years at our eBird hotspots are as follows: Queen Elizabeth Park-68, Jericho Park-90, Museum of Anthropology/Cecil Green Park-79, Pacific Spirit Park-52.

Also enjoy a rich cultural experience at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, including art, magnificent Indigenous carvings, weavings, and contemporary artworks from Northwest Coast First Nations in a SPEStacular building, where more than 16,000 objects from around the world are displayed. Lunch stop at the large, modern Open Kitchen on the UBC campus.

COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and admissions. Lunch is not included.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Only a moderate fitness level is required. Flat trails and walks of up to 2 km. Expect typical warm, summer, sea-level temperatures, but bring a light rain jacket for possible showers.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Your leaders will include very knowledgeable authors and updaters of chapters in The Birder's Guide.

Expect a trip length of 6 to 8 hours, depending on weather and sightings. Hat, water bottle, and sunscreen mandatory.



NATURE VANCOUVER NV2: FAVOURITE SUBURBAN BIRDING LOCATIONS TOUR
AUGUST 24, 2018 

The chapter numbers (in brackets) beside locations in these three field trips offered by Nature Vancouver indicate the corresponding chapters in The Birder's Guide to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, where you will find details of the occurrence and abundance of bird SPESies at each location.

Brydon Lagoon (Chapter 30), Campbell Valley Regional Park (Chapter 31), White Rock Pier (Chapter 18). The number of SPESies reported in August in eBird in the last 10 years at our at our eBird hotspots are as follows: Brydon Lagoon-82, Campbell Valley Park-60, White Rock Pier-41, Kwomais Point Park-26, Blackie Spit-104.

Your tour leaders will include highly experienced naturalists who are authors and updaters of chapters in The Birder's Guide. We will first drive 45 minutes east to Brydon Lagoon, where the author of this new Birder's Guide chapter will meet us, to share his valuable knowledge. This is a very reliable location to see the Green Heron. Then a 15 minute drive south will take us to the varied habitats of the large Campbell Valley Regional Park, with 29km of hiking trails and a rich mix of coniferous forest, deciduous forest and wetlands. Then 20 minutes west, a catered lunch will be served at the 30-acre Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club. This includes viewing their fish hatchery and being escorted on a private walk searching for owls that regularly roost in the non-public area. Then 20 minutes west to the extremely popular White Rock Pier, which extends out 500 meters from the shore, providing better views of offshore marine SPESies.
COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and cultural program.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Only a moderate fitness level is required. Flat trails and walks of up to 2 km. Expect typical warm, summer, sea-level temperatures, but bring a light rain jacket for possible showers.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

The updater of this Birder's Guide chapter will be there to share their knowledge.
Expect a trip length of 6 to 8 hours, depending on weather and sightings. Hat, waterbottle and sunscreen mandatory.



NATURE VANCOUVER NV3: SIGHT SEA-ING: ENGLISH BAY/BURRARD INLET BOAT EXCURSION
AUGUST 24, 2018 

The chapter numbers (in brackets) beside locations in these three field trips offered by Nature Vancouver indicate the corresponding chapters in The Birder's Guide to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, where you will find details of the occurrence and abundance of bird SPESies at each location.

Our boating adventure will include most of the popular marine eBird hotspots around the outer and inner harbours of Vancouver. This includes the shorelines of: Stanley Park (Chapter1), Jericho Park (Chapter3), Point Grey, Iona North Arm Jetty, Passage Island, Lighthouse Park/Klootchman Park (Chapter 7), Ambleside Park (Chapter 8), Lonsdale Quay/Kings Mill Walk Park (Chapter 9), Maplewood Conservation Area (Chapter 6) and New Brighton Park. The number of SPESies reported in August in eBird in the last 10 years at our at our eBird hotspots are as follows: Stanley Park seawall-40, Kitsilano Beach-10, Jericho Beach-24, Lacarno Beach-17, Spanish Banks-12, Iona North Jetty-41, Passage Island-27, Whytecliff Park-33, Klootchman Park-68, Lighthouse Park-76, Ambleside Park-48.

A catered onboard lunch will be provided, including vegan and vegetarian choices. The leaders will include a professional marine naturalist, a chapter original author/updater, as well as the editor of The Birder's Guide.

COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and cultural program.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Only a moderate fitness level is required. Flat trails and walks of up to 2 km. Expect typical warm, summer, sea-level temperatures, but bring a light rain jacket for possible showers.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Expect a trip-length of 6 to 8 hours, depending on weather and sightings. As for any boat tour, there is a risk of seasickness. Dress for warm, summer temperatures but bring a light sweater and rain jacket. Hat and sunscreen mandatory.



SPES 1: A STUFFED BIRD IN THE HAND
WING & TAIL TAXIDERMY WORKSHOP
AUGUST 24, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

Get up close and personal with the inner workings of the birds of Stanley Park!

Examine the fascinating mechanics of muscle, bone, and feather as you dissect wings and tails to prepare taxidermy spreads with an experienced guide. Help build the Society's SPESimen collection for educational programming. SPESimens include a diversity of song birds and birds of prey. Open to ages 18+.

TIME: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 15
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

No bird knowledge is required for this hands-on program. However, participants must be comfortable with handling and preparing their own SPESimens.

This indoor workshop is suitable for all levels of fitness.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

This is one of our messier workshops, so please dress in clothes that can be dirtied or covered in feathers. As we are working indoors, rain gear will not be necessary. Dissection tools and sanitary gloves will be provided. Some SPESimens may be brought home; please bring your own boxes, bags, or containers to take wing or tail spreads with you.



SPES 2: YOUR OWN PRIVATE BIRDER (2 HRS)
DAILY AUGUST 19-26, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

This program offers you the ability to set your own schedule and route in Stanley Park with your own private guide. Come alone or with a friend (maximum 2 participants per tour). This is the perfect opportunity for participants looking to avoid group programs and want to have an intimate experience with the birds of Stanley Park. You can request to focus on SPESific bird groups like the passerines or pelagic birds, or maybe there's one particular SPESies you're hoping to spot. Learn about the conservation status of the SPESies or the work being done to enhance its habitat. Let us know what you would like, and we will do our best to make it happen.

To schedule your private tour guide, email outreach@stanleyparkecology.ca.

Book your 2 hour session between 7:30 am and 8:30 pm, August 19-26, 2018 (final scheduling may be dependent on availability).

AVAILABILITY: August 19-26, 2018; between 7:30AM - 8:30PM
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 2 per tour
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

This program is eSPESially designed for the advanced birder who desires a deeper exploration of Stanley Park and its birds. A moderate level of fitness is all that will be required. Trails in Stanley Park vary from flat for beginner to intermediate with a few steep sections.

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 for the cooler mornings or evenings. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions require sun protection.



SPES 3: PACK YOUR CAMERA: BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
AUGUST 25, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

Capture the charm of warblers or the majesty of eagles on this bird photography workshop.

Whether you are a bird lover who has just picked up a camera or an avid photographer looking to work with a new subject, develop your craft with an experienced guide and photographer. The session will start indoors with light refreshments and photography guidance. We then quickly move outdoors to capture the light of early day, later returning indoors for a "photo critique". Don't miss this opportunity to photograph birds in a variety of habitats - perching, flying or floating. Bring your camera of choice.

TIME: 7:30AM - 2:00PM
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 12
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

A local, experienced bird guide will lead this workshop. This workshop is designed for all levels from beginner to intermediate bird photographers.

A moderate level of fitness is required. Trails will vary from flat for beginner to intermediate with a few steep sections. There are many park benches and opportunities to sit during this tour.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Each participant must bring their own camera/s. SLRs are ideal, but any stand-alone camera will work well. No phone cameras, please.

Unless the weather is unseasonably wet or stormy, expect to dress for warm summer conditions with a couple of extra layers for the cooler mornings. Rain is possible, so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions require sun protection.



SPES 4: NIGHT OWLS & DAWN CORUS: A NIGHT IN STANLEY PARK
AUGUST 23-24, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

Sign up for a truly SPESial experience as you camp out with Stanley Park Ecology Society in Stanley Park. Get a front-row seat to the Park’s forest orchestra: listen for barred owls deep in the woods and wake to the dawn chorus of Swainson’s thrushes. Spot beavers and bats emerging at sunset and learn about other Park wildlife with your local guide. Open to individuals and families of all ages. Dinner and a light breakfast are included.

TIME: 6:00PM - 9:30AM, August 23-24, 2018
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 25
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Local, experienced birders and naturalist guides will accompany groups. You don’t have to be familiar with the birds of the Pacific Northwest, but this walk is designed for intermediate birders.
A moderate level of fitness is required. Trails will vary from flat for beginner to intermediate with a few steep sections. There are many park benches and opportunities to sit during this tour.

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 for the cooler evening and morning. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended.
Your tour guides will supply tents, sleeping mats, extra blankets, cooking supplies, food (dinner and light breakfast), and first aid supplies. Participants must note the following:

  • Bring your own sleeping bags, pillowcases, toothbrushes, clothing, and personal medication. Sleeping bags can be provided for an additional fee of $10 if you are not able to bring your own.
  • Make sure the bags you bring are as small and light as possible
  • DO NOT bring valuables - we cannot safeguard belongings such as smart phones while on walks
  • Please do not pack your belongings into plastic bags - they tear easily and animals in the Park can eat into them
  • Pack warm waterproof clothing, even if the days have been warm - sweaters, gloves, warm hats and jackets are recommended
  • Extra rain gear is available, but not boots. Make sure footwear is appropriate for lots of walking, running and potentially getting wet
  • Try to avoid jeans and other cotton clothing if possible; wet cotton will make you very cold so choose wool or synthetic whenever possible
  • Do not bring a pillow; they can grow mold when wet; stuff an empty pillow case with extra clothes to create a pillow


SPES 5: LITTLE BIRDS PRE-CONGRESS DAY CAMP
AUGUST 17-19, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

Bring your family to Vancouver before the Congress and enroll your children in a fun, bird-themed day camp in Stanley Park. Campers will learn about the amazing ducks, hawks, eagles, hummingbirds, and other birds of Stanley Park. Build a nest box, identify eggs, and have a hoot learning all about our owls!

This pre-congress day camp runs from August 17th to August 19th. It is open to children aged 7-11 years old.

TIME: 8:30AM - 4:30AM, August 17-19, 2018
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 20-30
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Experienced environmental educators will accompany all children’s groups. Children can come with a little or a lot of birding experience and have a fun and educational time with us outdoors!

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Programs run rain or shine and are held almost entirely outside. Please ensure your camper is dressed for the weather. We will be learning through hands-on activities and getting a bit dirty and possibly wet (eSPESially shoes). Please review the list below. We will be walking on and off trails and on uneven and rocky ground during the week of camp. Appropriate footwear is required. Please ensure your camper has sufficient lunch and snack food to keep energy high throughout the day.

What To Bring & Wear:

  • T-shirt, long sleeved shirt and sweater
  • Long or short pants - no dresses, please
  • Good walking shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or muddy, NO flip flops or sandals
  • Please bring aqua slippers or water shoes for swimming
  • Sunscreen and hat
  • If raining: waterproof jacket with hood or hat
  • Backpack, lunch, snacks, and a refillable water bottle
  • Avoid clothes made of cotton on rainy days; cotton can be very cold when wet - wear wool or synthetic clothes whenever possible with a waterproof layer on top
  • No umbrellas - in a large group, they block the view for other campers and can accidentally poke eyes


SPES 6: LITTLE BIRDS DAY CAMP
AUGUST 20-24, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

Does your child love birds? Do they wonder which geese migrate to Stanley Park or how to identify songbirds? Campers will learn about the amazing ducks, hawks, eagles, hummingbirds, and other birds of Stanley Park. Build a nest box, identify eggs, and have a hoot learning all about our owls!
This day camp runs from Monday August 20th to Friday August 24th. It is open to children aged 7-11 years old. Sign up for the whole week or for select days in the week.

TIME: 8:30AM - 4:30AM, August 20-24, 2018
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 20
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Experienced environmental educators will accompany all children’s groups. Children can come with a little or a lot of birding experience and have a fun and educational time with us outdoors!

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Programs run rain or shine and are held almost entirely outside. Please ensure your camper is dressed for the weather. We will be learning through hands-on activities and getting a bit dirty and possibly wet (eSPESially shoes). Please review the list below. We will be walking on and off trails and on uneven and rocky ground during the week of camp. Appropriate footwear is required. Please ensure your camper has sufficient lunch and snack food to keep energy high throughout the day.

What To Bring & Wear:

  • T-shirt, long sleeved shirt and sweater
  • Long or short pants - no dresses, please
  • Good walking shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or muddy, NO flip flops or sandals
  • Please bring aqua slippers or water shoes for swimming
  • Sunscreen and hat
  • If raining: waterproof jacket with hood or hat
  • Backpack, lunch, snacks, and a refillable water bottle
  • Avoid clothes made of cotton on rainy days; cotton can be very cold when wet - wear wool or synthetic clothes whenever possible with a waterproof layer on top
  • No umbrellas - in a large group, they block the view for other campers and can accidentally poke eyes


SPES 7: A DAY WITH STANLEY PARK'S BIRDS
AUGUST 20, 24, 25, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

Spend a day with a bird expert in Stanley Park and immerse yourself in the birding hotspots for a truly extensive experience with the birds’ daily routines. Stanley Park is home to more than 250 SPESies of birds. While not all of them will be here in the summer, we will be sure to spot a large diversity from the Pacific wren to the great blue herons. Listen for the enchanting buzz of the varied thrush and the cry of the spotted towhee and more. Lunch will be available for purchase.

TIME: 8:00AM - 2:30PM, August 20, 24, 25, 2018
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 12 per tour
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Local, experienced birders and naturalist guides will accompany groups. You don’t have to be familiar with the birds of the Pacific Northwest, but this walk is designed for intermediate birders.
A moderate level of fitness is required. Trails will vary from flat for beginner to intermediate with a few steep sections. There are many park benches and opportunities to sit during this tour.

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 for the cooler mornings and evenings. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions require sun protection.



SPES 8: FOUR STANLEY PARK WALKING TOURS
SELECT DAYS AUGUST 19-26, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

SPES 8-1: Discover the Birds of Lost Lagoon
  • August 19, 6:30PM - 8:30PM
  • August 23, 8:00AM - 10:00AM

This intertidal-mudflat-turned-freshwater-lake is important habitat to waterfowl of both the year-round and migratory variety. Around the shallows and bordering forests, you will also find birds that enjoy the lake edge. Learn about the natural history of Lost Lagoon and its ecological role for birds within Stanley Park, and the larger Pacific Flyway, on this two-hour walking tour.

SPES 8-2: Feathered Seawall Wonders
  • August 20, 6:30PM - 8:30PM
  • August 24, 8:00AM - 10:00AM

Catch up on your shore birds and waterfowl identification by joining us at Stanley Park's Seawall, a popular destination for Park visitors and birds alike. Learn about the wall's benefits and challenges as a habitat, and watch for birds adapted for land and sea on both sides of this hard edge during this two-hour walking tour.

SPES 8-3: Beaver Lake's Tinny Tweeters
  • August 21, 8:00AM - 10:00AM
  • August 25, 6:30PM - 8:30PM

Beaver Lake provides wetland habitat that is not easily found in Vancouver. Learn about this coveted habitat and the conservation challenges this wetland faces for its bird residents. Catch sight of wading and forest-edge birds on this two-hour walking tour in Stanley Park.

SPES 8-4: The Winged Charmers of Stanley Park's Rose Garden
  • August 22, 6:30PM - 8:30PM
  • August 26, 8:00AM - 10:00AM

The beckoning flowers and open space of Stanley Park's Rose Garden offer a bounty of feeding opportunities for thrushes, swallows, and hummingbirds alike. The Dining Pavilion, a heritage building, also attracts juncos and woodpeckers seeking insects under the wooden siding. Stop and watch the birds (as you smell the roses) in Stanley Park on this two-hour walking tour.

PROGRAM CAPACITY: 12 per tour
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Birders and naturalist guides will interpret to small groups throughout Stanley Park. Birders, photographers, naturalists, and the curious are all invited to join.
A moderate level of fitness is all that will be required. Loop trails will vary from flat for beginner to intermediate with a few steep sections.

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 for the cooler mornings and evenings. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions require sun protection.



SPES 9: FLUTTERING ALL OVER STANLEY PARK
DAILY AUGUST 20-26, 2018 

Sponsored and led by Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)

Spend a half-day with a local expert to delve deeper into the natural history of our feathered friends. Visit the thriving bird habitats and refuges in the Park and learn why these locations are so favoured by birds and birders alike. Get an insider's look at secret bird behavior exhibited in these spaces. Lunch will be available for purchase after the walk.

TIME: Daily August 20-26, 2018; 8:00AM - 12:00PM
PROGRAM CAPACITY: 12 per tour
COSTS: TBA
BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

Local, experienced birders and naturalist guides will accompany groups. This extended session is SPESifically for more advanced birders. Your guide will introduce you to the Pacific Northwest's birds, but this walk is designed for intermediate birders.
A moderate level of fitness is required. Trails will vary from flat for beginner to intermediate with a few steep sections. There are many park benches and opportunities to sit during this tour.

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 for the cooler mornings or evenings. Rain is possible so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions require sun protection.