Photos by Virginia Hayes
Birder's Guide to Vancouver
Compiled by Nature Vancouver members and revised and extended in 2017, “The Birder’s Guide to Vancouver” is a comprehensive guide to local birding hotspots. Also available from stores, both locally and online.
Vancouver Area Bird Checklist
The Vancouver Bird Checklist area includes Metro Vancouver and Vicinity from the International Boundary (but including Point Roberts, Washington) North to 49° 35′ N (including Furry Creek) West to the middle of the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound (including Bowen Island) East to 122° 33′ W (Bradner Road or 288th St.) in (Abbotsford and Maple Ridge), but including all of Golden Ears Provincial Park.
2018 Vancouver Area Checklist (right click and save or click to open)
The Google map of the Vancouver Bird Checklist area has the descriptions of various birding spots in and around Metro Vancouver Area. Please click on a location see the description of the area and directions on how to get there. Or click on the link at the bottom of the map to enlarge it and to see the list and descriptions of all the locations.
Important Birding Spots in Metro Vancouver Area
Updated 19 October 2009
The information below was summarized by Eric Greenwood and Wayne Weber from The Birder’s Guide to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, published in 2001 by the Vancouver Natural History Society and Whitecap Books. Full directions to each location, descriptions of bird watching sites and details of the bird species to be found are contained in the book, which is currently out of print, but is in the process of revision.
A much briefer, but still very useful, account of birding locations around Vancouver can be found on pages 432-447 in A Birder’s Guide to Metropolitan Areas of North America. This book, edited by Paul Lehman, was published by the American Birding Association in 2001 and is still in print.
We recommend the use of a detailed street map of Vancouver or a map book, with the directions given in the list of the birding spots. The map below indicates the birding spots with numbers corresponding to the list:
(1) Stanley Park, Vancouver: From downtown Vancouver, drive west on Georgia Street and turn right into the park just opposite Lost Lagoon, or enter from Beach Avenue along English Bay. In winter, an excellent area for seeing waterfowl in Lost Lagoon (often at very close range) and along marine shorelines; also good for other marine birds such as loons, grebes, cormorants, and gulls. A good variety of forest songbirds can be seen throughout the year. In late spring and summer, the Beaver Lake area is best for birds, and is less crowded than shoreline areas. Pay parking is in effect throughout the park.
(2) Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Vancouver: From the west side of Vancouver, drive west on 4th Avenue, 10th Avenue or Southwest Marine Drive to the Point Grey Peninsula. This large park is mostly conifer and alder forest, and also includes Point Grey and marine shorelines. Birds to look for in the forest include Barred and Great Horned Owls, Pileated Woodpecker, Hutton’s Vireo, and Black-throated Gray Warbler (summer). Virginia Rails winter in marshes near the mouth of Booming Grounds Creek. At Cecil Green Park, near the University of BC Anthropology Museum, large fallouts of spring migrant passerines (warblers, vireos, flycatchers, tanagers, etc.) can often be seen.
(3) Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver: The Park is located on the north side of West 4th Avenue between Wallace and Discovery Streets on the west side of Vancouver. Habitats include shallow marine waters (English Bay), alder stands, open fields, and a marsh and freshwater pond. Good birding for waterfowl in winter, passerines in migration and summer, and species like Virginia Rail, Pied-billed Grebe, and Green Heron (summer) in the marsh. Fallouts of migrant songbirds can be seen some days in late April and May.
(4) Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver: From downtown Vancouver, drive south on Cambie Street to 33rd Avenue and turn left. An arboretum and rock garden, with a few dense patches of low trees and shrubs. Birding is best in spring (late March until late May), when impressive fallouts of migrant songbirds (warblers, vireos, thrushes, sparrows, etc.) can be found, especially during and just after the passage of storm fronts. Townsend’s Solitaire is often seen in spring, and rarer species like Calliope Hummingbird and Red-naped Sapsucker are seen a couple of times most years. Birding is generally mediocre in summer, fall, and winter.
(5) Fraser River Park, Musqueam Marsh Nature Park and Blenheim Flats, Vancouver: An area of southwest Vancouver, including the Musqueam Indian Reserve, extending east along the Fraser River to the Arthur Laing Bridge. Accessible from Southwest Marine Drive. Mixed habitats provide sightings of most of Vancouver’s common species. Musqueam Park can be worthwhile for owls.
(6) Maplewood Conservation Area, North Vancouver: The conservation area, operated by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia, is 3 km east of the north end of the Second Narrows Bridge (Ironworkers’ Memorial Bridge). The entrance is on the south side of Dollarton Highway. A very good birding area throughout the year. Extensive intertidal flats are good for many waterfowl in winter and migrant shorebirds in spring and fall; Ospreys and many Purple Martins nest on offshore pilings in spring and summer. A freshwater marsh and pond system may harbour Green Heron and American Bittern. Most of the area is covered by brushy meadows and young, regenerating deciduous forest, providing good habitat for songbirds, woodpeckers, and a few hawks and owls throughout the year.
(7) Lighthouse Park and Vicinity, West Vancouver: From downtown Vancouver cross the Lions Gate Bridge and take the West Vancouver exit on to Marine Drive. Follow Marine Drive west for 10.3 km and turn left on Beacon Lane to the park entrance. The best area of old-growth forest at sea level in the Vancouver area, bordered by rocky marine shorelines. Forest birds to look for include Pileated Woodpecker, Brown Creeper, Hutton’s Vireo, Red Crossbill, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Sooty Grouse (spring/summer). Waterbirds in winter include all 3 cormorant species, Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Western Grebes, Marbled Murrelets. The Grebe Islets, best viewed from outside the park at the end of Pitcairn Place or from Kloochman Park (reached by trail from Howe Sound Lane), are a nesting site for Glaucous-winged Gulls, Pigeon Guillemots, and Black Oystercatchers.
(8) Ambleside Park, West Vancouver: From downtown Vancouver cross the Lions Gate Bridge and take the West Vancouver exit on to Marine Drive. Turn left after Park Royal Shopping Centre on 15th Street. A small but productive park with several habitats including marine shoreline, a freshwater pond, a golf course, and a small area of tall forest. Birds to look for in season include Harlequin Duck, Black Turnstone, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Black-throated Gray Warbler. At the east end of the park, check upstream on the Capilano River for American Dipper (scarce), Common Merganser, Belted Kingfisher, and sizable flocks of gulls.
(9) Mount Seymour Provincial Park, North Vancouver: The Park is east of the north end of the Second Narrows Bridge. Follow Mount Seymour Parkway for 7 km to Mount Seymour Road and turn left. The road terminates at the ski area at an altitude of about 900 metres. Virtually all birds characteristic of conifer forest in the Vancouver area can be found in the park. Birds of particular interest include Sooty Grouse (common and heard hooting from April through July), Band-tailed Pigeon, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Varied Thrush, Red Crossbill (all rather common). Scarcer species seen regularly or occasionally include Northern Pygmy-Owl and White-winged Crossbill (any time of year), and Pine Grosbeak and Rock Ptarmigan (rare in winter).
(10) Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver: From downtown Vancouver cross the Lions Gate Bridge, take the West Vancouver exit on to Marine Drive, cross the Capilano River and turn right on Taylor Way. Head north and take Highway 1 (the Upper Levels Highway) west to the Cypress Provincial Park exit. Continue to the upper parking lot and ski area at an altitude of about 900 metres. The three best birding spots are the Hi-View Lookout, a viewpoint about 5 km from Highway 1; the Yew Lake Trail, an easy loop trail that starts from the upper parking lot; and the First Lake parking area and nearby trails. Birding is similar but perhaps better than that at Mount Seymour, and is best from May through October. Look for Band-tailed Pigeon, Fox Sparrow, Sooty Grouse, Vaux’s Swift, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Gray Jay, chickadees, thrushes and warblers. Northern Pygmy-Owl and Three-toed Woodpecker are rarely seen but probably regular. The park is used heavily by skiers in winter.
(11) Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Vicinity, Delta: From Highway 99 in Delta, follow signs to Ladner, then from the centre of Ladner, take 47A Street to the west, which becomes River Road. Follow River Road west for 2.9 km, turn right to cross the Westham Island bridge and follow Westham Island road for 4.8 km. Turn left at the gates to the refuge entrance. This is probably the single best birding area around Vancouver for numbers of bird species and individuals, except during the nesting season (June and July), when things are quieter. Winter (October to April) features thousands of Snow Geese and dabbling ducks, hundreds of Trumpeter Swans, and numerous species of diurnal raptors and owls. Many species and good numbers of songbirds also winter, as do a few Black-crowned Night-Herons and American Bitterns. Many species of passerines can be found in spring and fall migration, as well as shorebirds, especially in late summer and fall. Ladner Harbour Park, on River Road east of Ladner, and Westham Island itself are also worthy of visits.
(12) Roberts Bank, Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and Brunswick Point, Delta: From Highway 99, follow signs to Highway 17A and Tsawwassen. The ferry terminal is at the south end of Highway 17. All parking is pay parking, except for a small lot for about 6 vehicles about ¾ of the way out on the north side of the road. For Roberts Bank, exit from Highway 17A at Deltaport Way, 5.0 km south of the junction with Highway 99, and follow signs to the Roberts Bank Superport. For Brunswick Point, from Highway 99 follow signs to Ladner then, from the center of Ladner, take 47A Street which becomes River Road. Follow River Road to the far west end. Huge flocks of dabbling and diving ducks use the intertidal areas from September to May, along with thousands of Dunlin. Up to 3000 Brant concentrate north of the ferry jetty in spring (March to May). Many shorebirds can be found during both spring and fall migrations. In winter, farmland at the base of the Roberts Bank jetty hosts many raptors, sometimes including rare species like Gyrfalcon and Prairie Falcon. The Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal has Black Oystercatchers year-round, many Black Turnstones in winter (often with a few Surfbirds), and many marine birds. Small flocks of Snow Buntings are often seen along the ferry jetty, October to March. Brunswick Point is excellent for waterfowl from September through May (look especially for Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans) and for both shorebirds and passerines during spring and fall migration.
(13) Point Roberts (Washington State): From Highway 99, follow signs to Highway 17A and Tsawwassen. Exit from Highway 17 at Tsawwassen and continue on 56th Street to the international boundary. From the border crossing (be sure to bring passport and/or birth certificate and driver’s licence for identification), continue south on Tyee Road for 3.5 km, turn left and drive 2.5 km to the cemetery. Through the gate a path leads to Lily Point, a walk of 200 metres. To reach Lighthouse Marine Park (operated by Whatcom County), the best spot in the Vancouver area for marine birds, drive south from the border crossing to the end of Tyee Drive, then bear right for about 1.2 km to the park entrance. Point Roberts has several areas of second-growth conifer forest (especially around Lily Point) good for birds like Hutton’s Vireo, Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers, Barred Owl, and Purple Finch. At Lighthouse Marine Park, scan the offshore waters for Heermann’s Gull and occasionally Ancient Murrelet (fall), Common Murre, Brandt’s Cormorant, and Pacific Loon (all winter), and Rhinoceros Auklet (usually common in summer). Flocks of Black Turnstones and Sanderlings, occasionally with a Rock Sandpiper or Black Oystercatcher, are often seen on the pebbly beach. Flocks of diving ducks, grebes, loons, and cormorants are frequent offshore from September through May, and groups of Brant are often seen flying by.
(14) Boundary Bay Regional Park, Delta: From Highway 99, follow signs to Highway 17A and Tsawwassen. Exit from Highway 17 at Tsawwassen and continue on 56th Street to 16th Avenue. Turn left on either 16th or 12th Streets and drive east a short distance to Boundary Bay. From September to April or May the 12th Avenue dyke permits close observation of many waterfowl and shorebird species and is excellent for raptors. August and September are the active months for fall migrants; spring migration from April to mid-May is less spectacular. Beach Grove Park, with dense thickets and tall cottonwoods, should be checked for spring and fall migrations of passerines.
(15) Boundary Bay, Delta – 64th Street to 112th Street: From Vancouver, take Highway 99 and follow signs to Highway 17A and Tsawwassen. Exit from Highway 17 onto Ladner Trunk Road (Highway 10), by turning left at the first lights. From the south take Highway 99 and exit on to Highway 10 heading east. Access Boundary Bay by driving south on 64th or 72nd Streets from Highway 10 or by taking 104th Street from Hornby Drive which runs east as a “frontage road” from the junction of Highway 10 and 99. No parking is available at the foot of 96th or 112th Streets. The Boundary Bay dyke can be walked from 64th Street east to Mud Bay Park in Surrey, beyond 120th, but beware of car break-ins. Boundary Bay supports huge numbers of ducks and Dunlin from September through early May. In addition, thousands of migrating shorebirds, including many species, can be seen from late April through late September, except for the month of June. However, shorebirding can be frustrating because of sudden movements of flocks (sometimes triggered by attacks by the numerous Peregrine Falcons, Merlins, and Bald Eagles) and the long distances that must be walked from parking areas. Large flocks of wintering blackbirds and European Starlings near the stables just south of Hornby Drive on 96th Street may include Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird and Rusty Blackbird. The farm fields from Boundary Bay north to Highway 10 should be checked for birds of prey and roosting flocks of gulls, sometimes including rarities. Snowy Owls can be found most winters near the foot of 72nd and 64th Streets, and the turf farm west of 72nd Street should be checked in late summer for rare shorebirds such as Buff-breasted Sandpiper and golden-plovers.
(16) Serpentine Fen, Surrey: From Vancouver, take Highway 99 south and follow signs to White Rock. After crossing the Serpentine River, take the White Rock exit and cross back over Highway 99 on the King George Highway (Highway 99A). Park at the bridge that crosses the Serpentine River. Birding is best in spring, fall and winter and depends on water levels. The ponds are good for ducks all winter and for shorebirds in migration. A good selection of passerines may be found in the small stands of trees and raptors may be present. Check ditches for Great Blue and Green Herons or American Bittern.
(17) Blackie Spit (Surrey) and White Rock Waterfront: From Vancouver, take Highway 99 and follow signs to White Rock. For Blackie Spit, after crossing the Serpentine River take the White Rock exit, turn right at Crescent Road, continue for 5 km, bear right on Sullivan Street and then turn right again onto McBride Avenue. For the White Rock waterfront, stay on Highway 99 as far as the 8th Avenue exit. Head west on 8th Avenue; this becomes Marine Drive and closely parallels the waterfront. High tides push the birds in Mud Bay onto Blackie Spit; waterfowl and shorebirds are best seen during moderately high tides. Migrating Lapland Longspur may be found on the spit in September or October and Snow Bunting in November or December. Caspian Terns are normally present from May to September with Common Tern possible in August and September. Summer and fall produce the greatest variety of shorebirds. The wooded dike on the south side of Farm Slough on the east side of Blackie Spit is good for passerines. On the White Rock waterfront winter is the best time to look for wintering waterfowl; check carefully for Eared Grebe, which is rare but regular in winter.
(18) Iona and Sea Islands, Richmond: This is one of Vancouver’s best birding areas year-round, and over the years has been the best spot in BC to see a wide variety of shorebirds. The Iona Island sewage ponds are best for close views of shorebirds and ducks. To reach Iona Island, drive south from Vancouver across the Arthur Laing Bridge onto Grant McConachie Way, turn north at the traffic light at Templeton Street, and follow signs to Iona Beach Regional Park. North of the airport on Sea Island, look for Northern Shrikes and raptors such as Rough-legged Hawk and Short-eared Owl (fall, winter, spring). Access to Iona’s sewage ponds is via a locked gate. Access can be given in certain circumstances. Please contact Jude Grass at 604-538-8774 for details. Some areas of Iona Island, including all areas east of the sewage plant, are closed to the public; please heed warning signs. Manager of the facility has produced a color coded map to show the areas where the birders may wander and the areas that are off limit. The sewage ponds and two ponds outside the plant are good year-round for waterfowl (e.g. Gadwall, Northern Shoveller, Canvasback, Ruddy Duck), and shorebirds are seen in numbers from April through late September, except for most of June. Many rarities have been seen in this area over the years. Iona’s South Jetty, which extends 4 km into the Strait of Georgia and can be walked or cycled to the tip, is a good vantage point for scoters and other diving ducks, cormorants, and loons. In spring and fall, huge flocks of Bonaparte’s Gulls are seen here, often harassed by a few Parasitic Jaegers.
(19) Lulu Island, Terra Nova Natural Area and Richmond Trails: Lulu Island, in the city of Richmond, is bisected by Highway 99. For the South Arm of the Fraser River, exit on Steveston Highway heading west, turn south on No. 5 Road and head to the end; a series of roads parallel the river to Steveston. For the Middle Arm of the river, exit Highway 99 on Westminster Highway heading west, continue to No. 1 Road, turn right and drive north to River Road. Check the Middle Arm of the Fraser River for waterfowl in winter and spring; Eurasian Wigeon are always to be found. Sturgeon Bank, explored from the dike running along the western edge of Lulu Island, is good for raptors; the marsh and ditches host Virginia Rail, Sora and American Bittern. Small stands of trees in the area south of Steveston Highway host a variety of passerines and Barn Owls may also be found here.
(20) Burns Bog area, Delta: Although renowned for its unique bog ecosystem and rare plants, Burns Bog is of only moderate interest to birders. The only section of the bog itself currently accessible to the public is the Delta Nature Reserve. Boardwalks through the bog can be reached from the main entrance on the north side of the Great Pacific Forum (a winter sports complex) located at 10388 Nordel Court, off Highway 91 near the south end of the Alex Fraser Bridge. Birds of the Nature Reserve in summer include Common Yellowthroat, Marsh Wren and a few swallows in more open areas, and typical forest birds in the wooded areas. The Greater Vancouver Landfill (off limits to birders) is located in the SW corner of Burns Bog, on 72nd Street just north of Highway 99, and from September to April is a feeding ground for many thousands of gulls and hundreds of Northwestern Crows and Bald Eagles. However, large resting flocks of gulls can be scanned in the fields near the landfill, west at least to 64th Street and east to 104th Street. Among the hordes of Glaucous-winged Gulls, a careful search will usually reveal several Glaucous Gulls, Western Gulls (but watch out for hybrids), Herring Gulls, and occasionally such rarities as Slaty-backed Gull.
(21) Burnaby Lake Regional Park, Burnaby: From Vancouver, leave Highway 1 at the Kensington north exit, drive north for 2 km and then follow signs for Lougheed Highway east. Cross Still Creek on the Kensington overpass, turn right immediately onto Winston Street, turn right at Piper Avenue and follow signs to the park. From the Nature House parking area of Burnaby Lake Regional Park, the trail heading east, signposted for Cariboo Dam, runs through mixed forest typical of the area; expect a variety of passerines and woodpeckers all year. The pathway south of the parking area extends out into the lake; this is an excellent viewpoint for the lake and the marshes. Burnaby Lake is Vancouver’s hotspot for Wood Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, and American Coots, and a variety of other ducks can be seen all year. Shorebirds also use the muddy edges during migration, although visibility can be a problem among the rank growth of Lilypads and other aquatic vegetation.
(22) Deer Lake Park, Burnaby: From Vancouver, leave Highway 1 at the Willingdon south exit, turn left at Canada Way and follow it to Royal Oak Avenue. Turn right and follow Royal Oak Avenue through the Moscrop and Gilpin intersection; the entrance to the park is on the left about 500 metres from the intersection. Trails around Deer Lake Park are excellent for spring migrants while the meadow area may be productive for raptors. While not numerous in the park, the forested area has produced Western Screech, Northern Saw-whet and Barred Owl while Great Horned, Long-eared and Barn Owls have been seen at other locations. The lake itself is good for geese, ducks (especially Common and Hooded Mergansers in winter), coots, Double-crested Cormorants, and Ring-billed and Glaucous-winged Gulls.
(23) Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, Burnaby: This large, forested area (almost 600 ha) surrounds Simon Fraser University, but the area of greatest interest is Burnaby Mountain Park, just west of SFU. It is reached either by driving east on Hastings Street and Curtis Avenue to Burnaby Mountain Parkway, then left on Centennial Way, or from the south via Gaglardi Way, then left on Burnaby Mountain Parkway and right on Centennial Way. The best birding area is the gardens near the parking area around the Horizons Restaurant, and the wooded areas along the mountaintop just east of there. Birding is best in spring in summer, especially in late April and May, when large fallouts of spring migrants can occur, including warblers, sparrows, vireos, flycatchers, hummingbirds, and tanagers.
(24) Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park, Burnaby: This municipal park extends for about 4 km along the North Arm of the Fraser River in Burnaby. The main access points are from Boundary Road and Byrne Road, reached by driving east from Vancouver along SE Marine Drive and Marine Way. This is one of Greater Vancouver’s lesser-known birding spots, and is still undergoing habitat improvements. The river itself is a good place to look for such species as Common Mergansers, Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, and gulls. The cottonwoods and other trees along the banks are good for Bullock’s Orioles (summer), woodpeckers and a variety of songbirds
(25) Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby: A shoreline park in North Burnaby which fronts on the marine waters of Burrard Inlet, Barnet Marine Park offers reasonably good but not outstanding birding. Drive east from Vancouver along Hastings Street and then the Barnet Highway (Highway 7A) until you see the park sign, then turn left into the parking area. The forest and shrubby areas support a variety of songbirds, and spring migrant “fallouts” can occur here, though not as often as at nearby Burnaby Mountain. Bald Eagles (year-round) and Turkey Vultures (summer) are often seen here, and a variety of diving ducks and other waterbirds can be seen in winter.
(26) Minnekhada Regional Park and Pitt-Addington Marsh, Coquitlam: From the junction of Barnet Highway and Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, take Lougheed Highway east for 3.5 km and turn north onto Coast Meridian Road. After 2.5 km turn right on Apel Drive and then right onto Victoria Drive; at Gilley’s Trail Victoria Drive becomes Quarry Road. Quarry Road leads to parking and the trailhead, while Gilley’s Trail leads to Oliver Road for access to Minnekhada Lodge and Addington Marsh. The dense coniferous and mixed forests of the park, when combined with Minnekhada Marsh, Addington Marsh, and adjacent farmlands, offer exceptionally varied habitat. The wetland in the centre of the park is a productive waterfowl spot, especially in winter, and the best spot around Vancouver for Ring-necked Ducks. Summer brings many passerines to the deciduous woods including thrush species, Western Tanager, flycatchers and warblers. Ruffed and Sooty Grouse both occur in the park. Green Heron can often be found along DeBoville Slough, while Addington Marsh in spring may yield up to 50 species of birds including grebes, Sandhill Crane, American Bittern, raptors, gulls and waterfowl.
(27) Pitt Wildlife Management Area and Vicinity, Pitt Meadows: From the junction of Barnet Highway and Lougheed Highway (Highways 7 and 7A) in Coquitlam, take Lougheed Highway east to the Pitt River or take the Mary Hill bypass from United Boulevard and Highway 1. Cross the Pitt River Bridge heading east, turn left after 0.6 km onto Dewdney Trunk Road and proceed for 2.3 km to turn left on Harris Road. Continue north on Harris Road, cross the Alouette River and turn right on McNeill Road to skirt the base of Sheridan Hill. At the Rannie Road and Neaves Road intersection turn left; Rannie Road runs northward for about 10 km to Pitt Lake. There are no services in this area! There are a number of access points to dike trails along the Pitt River and around Katzie Marsh at Pitt Lake. In summer, check the woodland at the base of Sheridan Hill for Rufous Hummingbird, flycatchers, vireos, Cedar Waxwing and warblers. At the northern end of Rannie Road, where it runs next to the Pitt River dike, the roadside habitat in this area is a reliable spot in summer for Gray Catbird and Eastern Kingbird. The dike walk around Katzie Marsh is productive in any season; swans can be found in winter and, in harsher weather, Snow Bunting and Common Redpoll may be found on the dikes. Ospreys nest on the pilings in the Pitt River, while Sandhill Cranes may be present in the open fields on either side of Rannie Road at any time. This is a large area which takes some time to bird, and a full day can profitably be spent here.
(28) Colony Farm Regional Park, Coquitlam & Port Coquitlam: Colony Farm Park, which lies partly in Coquitlam and partly in Port Coquitlam north of the Fraser River, was a working farm until 1983 and became a park only in 1995. The park consists mostly of brushy old fields that are slowly reverting to forest, with smaller areas of riparian alder and cottonwood stands and several small ponds. The west side (Coquitlam) is accessed by travelling east on Highway 7 and turning right onto Colony Farm Road; the east side (Port Coquitlam), by travelling east on the Mary Hill Bypass and turning left at the traffic lights onto Shaughnessy Street. Birds to look for in summer include Lazuli Bunting (fairly common), Marsh Wren, Virginia Rail, Common Yellowthroat, Green Heron (Coquitlam River), Western Kingbird (rare but has nested), and Bullock’s Oriole. Mountain Bluebirds are sometimes seen in spring (March-April), and Northern Shrikes, sparrows, and several waterfowl species can be found in winter.
(29) Campbell Valley Regional Park, Langley: From Vancouver, take Highway 1 east and follow signs to Langley. Take the 200th Street exit southbound, follow 200th Street for 14.5 km and turn east on 16th Avenue for the North Valley entrance. For the South Valley entrance, continue on 200th Street to 8th Avenue and turn east. Little River Loop provides access to both forest and marsh, providing sightings of ducks, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat, woodpeckers and a variety of passerines. South Valley Trail provides access to similar habitat plus meadow areas good for raptors; Gray Catbird, Townsend’s Solitaire (spring migrant), Olive-sided Flycatcher and Cliff Swallows have been seen along the valley floor. Nine species of owls have been recorded, eight of which are known to nest.
(30) Golden Ears Provincial Park: From the junction of Barnet Highway and Lougheed Highway (Highways 7 and 7A) in Coquitlam, take Lougheed Highway east to the Pitt River or take the Mayhill bypass from United Boulevard and Highway 1. Cross the Pitt River Bridge heading east and continue to Maple Ridge; the park is well signed from here. Sooty Grouse are seen at all elevations and can be heard hooting in spring. Barred Owl is a resident, both Black and Vaux’s Swifts can be found in summer, and six species of woodpeckers occur here. There is a good warbler migration in spring, while Black-throated Gray and Townsend’s Warblers are summer residents. Red and White-winged (rare) Crossbills, Black-headed Grosbeak, Pine Siskin and Purple Finch may be seen. Birding is best from early May through July.
(31) B.C. Ferry Routes: For birders travelling to Vancouver Island, BC Ferries offer good birding opportunities, although the ferries travel quickly and one must often have quick reactions to identify a bird before it is left behind. The two ferry terminals of interest are at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver (service to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and to Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast) and at the Tsawwassen Jetty in Delta (service to Swartz Bay near Victoria, Duke Point near Nanaimo, and to the Gulf Islands). Of the ferry routes, the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route offers by far the best birding, mainly from September through May. The narrow channel of Active Pass between Galiano and Mayne Islands, with its strong tidal currents, features large concentrations of birds most of the winter. Large flocks of Brandt’s Cormorants, Pacific Loons, Bonaparte’s Gulls, and Mew Gulls are typical. Pigeon Guillemots nest on the cliffs of Galiano Island and feed in the passage, and smaller numbers of such species as Common Loon, Surf Scoter, Black Oystercatcher, Pelagic Cormorant, and Bald Eagle are usually seen. The open waters of Georgia Strait have far fewer birds, mostly gulls and Common Murres. The Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal usually has Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Western Grebes, and Pelagic Cormorants. For birding opportunities around the Tsawwassen terminal, see locality account (12).