2023 British Columbia – Vancouver Island
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
We have separated this part of the tour from the mainland Washington segment to allow time to explore Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands. Our first destination is Vancouver Island to search for the highly localized Eurasian Skylark. Barbara Begg keeps a vigilant eye on these birds and she may assist us in our quest.
We will spend time at Cattle Point, the Seawall, and other coastal locations looking for songbirds, seabirds, and shorebirds. Likely species are Anna’s Hummingbird, California Quail, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Bushtit. During our ferry ride through the San Juan Islands we’ll see pelagic species including Marbled Murrelet and Harbor Porpoise.
We’ll go ashore on some of the islands to explore their varied bird life and spend time watching for Orcas at one of the best locations in all of Puget Sound. We’ll search for Mountain Quail near Belfair State Park before ending our tour in Seattle. The scheduled leader is Bob Schutsky or John Puschock.
We will take a maximum of seven participants. On rare occasions we may extend the maximum to ten participants.
Duration: 5 days
Group Size Limit: 4 – 8
Date: 15 August – 19 August 2023
Start: Seattle, WA
End: Seattle, WA
US$2520 per person sharing assuming 4 – 8 participants
Single supplement: US$340
We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail [email protected] for details.
- Guiding fees
- Entrance fees
- All transport while on tour
- Domestic and International flights
- Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
- Alcoholic drinks
- Personal insurance
- Laundry Service
Seattle to Saanichton
You may continue directly from the Washington Tour, or plan to arrive at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by noon, 17 August, if you are joining us just for this extension. We’ll drive north and make the ferry crossing to Vancouver Island, departing from Port Angeles. During our crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we’ll watch for Parasitic Jaeger, Sooty Shearwater, and perhaps even an Orca!
Victoria Airport for Skylarks and Saanich Peninsula
Eurasian Skylark is reliable near the Victoria Airport and in some tulip bulb fields very close to our motel. I will be in touch with Barbara Begg and hopefully, she will be available to join us for the morning. Barbara knows more about the habits and habitats of the resident Skylarks than anyone else on Vancouver Island.
We’ll spend the remainder of the day birding other areas on the Saanich Peninsula in search of California Quail, Anna’s Hummingbird, and a nice variety of waterfowl. Several productive coastal stops near Victoria may yield Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Harlequin Duck, Mew Gull, Arctic Tern, and perhaps a Parasitic Jaeger, Yellow-headed Blackbird, or Cassin’s Auklet as in past years.
One year we were invited into a gentleman’s backyard from which we could watch a feeding Gray Whale, and we also saw Pileated Woodpecker and Anna’s Hummingbird – – what for a combination!
Ferry through the San Juan Islands
We’ll take an early ferry through the San Juan Islands, exploring an island for as long as we wish, then moving on to another one. We will save plenty of time to look for Orcas from one of the best vantage points in the entire Pacific Northwest. This will give us more opportunity to find additional seabirds. We’ll return to Vancouver Island and bird some new areas before retiring for the night.
Ferry ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Belfair State Park
We’ll take yet another ferry ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to return to Washington, then search for Mountain Quail near Belfair State Park. This will give us the opportunity for some additional woodland birding before working our way back to Seattle, where we’ll spend the night near the SeaTac Airport. A nearby park and lake often produce some good birds that may include Red-breasted Sapsucker, Rufous Hummingbird, and perhaps Western Screech-Owl.
Flights home can be planned as early as you desire, as the hotel is an easy ride from the SeaTac Airport.
Will we do any birding the first day?
YES! – This tour will depart Tucson at noon. One of our first targets is only a few minutes from from the airport.
How should I dress for the tour?
Check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.
Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?
There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.
What language are tours conducted in?
Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.
Can you help me book flights?
Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!
Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?
While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.
NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.
Do you provide trip insurance?
No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.
Are meals included?
For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.
Will I get seasick on the boat?
Most people will not get sick, although you should take precautions if you are prone to motion sickness, as the weather can dictate how rough the ride will be. There are various remedies sold at local pharmacies and in our galley which can help relieve motion sickness and will make your trip more enjoyable.”