Vancouver Island

Tuesday, July 3, 2007:

We got a late start, but had birded around the hotel area beforehand. Highlights there included Fox Sparrows and Willow Flycatcher. Our next stop was Deception Pass State Park on Fidalgo Island. Before we got there Susan demanded a cherry stop, so we pulled into a roadside stand for both bing and rainier cherries. At the park, we walked a trail near Pass Lake. The forest there was amazing! The trees tower over you, but it is pretty open underneath. It's hard to believe it is only a warmup for the big trees I will see later.

A singing Wilson's Warbler greeted us at the trailhead. GC Kinglets were calling, but not seen. Ditto for a Pacific-slope Flycatcher. A Brown Creepr briefly climbed on a tree next to us. When we returned to the parking lot, we found Kingfisher and Osprey near the lake. We then drove to a beach down the road. Barn Swallows circled us as we walked along. We wondered if we were kicking up insects for the swallows. Susan got some lifers here: Glaucous-winged Gull, Pigeon Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet. An apparent Sea Otter also put in an appearance. The scenery was just stunning! We didn't have time to walk along the beach and look in tidepools, but that looked interesting too! An Olive-sided Flycatcher called a couple of times, but I couldn't find it.

It was then time to go to the ferry. We put the car in line, then got a bite to eat. We still had some time left, so we birded a marshy area between the beach and the lot. Marsh Wrens were making a racket there. A couple of hummers flew by, presumed Rufous.

We returned to the car and before long drove onto the ferry. The ride through the San Juan Islands was beautiful! We made two stops, at Orcas and at Friday Harbor on San Juan. The only new bird was Marbled Murrelet. We saw some deer on “Brown Island”, a dolphin, and a seal.

Anacortes View Anacortes View
View from Anacortes
San Juan Islands Sailboat
San Juan Islands Sailboat
Glaucous-winged Gull Orcas Island
Glaucous-winged Gull Orcas Island

After clearing customs, we immediately stopped to scope some gulls. No luck on that, but a Common Loon was fishing near shore. The airport proved unproductive for Sky Lark, so I went to plan B, stopping near some greenhouses on Central Saanich Road. We had not gotten out of the car when I heard a Sky Lark! We got out of the car, expecting to quickly hear more. Not so simple. At one point, I spotted a possible Sky Lark perched on a plant. Then it started calling and took off. Success! A few minutes later one got way up in the air and did its big display flight. Very impressive! It reminded me of some of the other grassland birds, such as the Sprague's Pipit that I saw display in Manitoba last year.

We made a brief stop at another park to check for waterfowl, then headed to the hotel. Susan had to change rooms as hers was too hot (no A/C). The rooms at the Royal Scot are very nice!

We walked around the inner harbor a bit, then ate at outside at a restaurant there. It was nice to relax at the end of the day!

Victoria, BC