South-Island Birding News & Information


It is no surprise that the Victoria region is the top birding location on the Island and one of the top spots in the whole country. With year-round golfing and flowers blooming in the winter, it's not just people that love the region - birds do too. If you want proof, just look at the results of the Victoria CBC on Dec. 20/03. With a tentative species count of 137, Victoria should have no trouble holding on to 2nd place in Canada. (If they had 137 last year, they would have been 1st as Ladner was 1st with 136!)
Highlights: 1 Yellow-headed Blackbird 1 Northern Goshawk 6 Red Phalarope 12 Rock Sandpiper 2 Townsend Solitaire 1 Western Screech-Owl 2 Northern Saw-whet Owl 1 Swamp Sparrow 2 Virginia Rail 295 Anna's Hummingbird -- a new high. In addition, large numbers of Red-necked Grebe were recorded.


The information in this section is simply a consolidation of some of the reports submitted to the bcbirdingvanisland eGroup. As I have no access to official records, I have no idea how rare the reported species are nor do I have any knowledge regarding official records. If anyone objects to having his/her name published, please notify the webmaster to rectify the situation.

Jan. 8/03 - Slaty-backed Gull at Esquimalt Lagoon (reported by M. Shepard)
Mar. 23&24/03 - Lark Sparrow seen by visiting birders (reported by D. Allison)
Apr. 1/03 - American Bitern and Virginia Rail at Swan Lake (reported by C. Saunders)
Apr. 19/03 - Bluethroat on Hampshire Rd. (reported by J. Gatten)
May 27/03 - Western Kingbirds at Mt. Douglas (reported by D. Maarven)
Jun. 5/03 - Willet on Discovery Isd. (reported by M. Shepard)
Sept. 5/03 - Crested Auklet at Pedder Bay (reported by J. Jantunen & A. Rousseau)
Sept. 21/03 Nashville Warbler at Drinkwater Rd., Duncan (reported by D. Maarven)
Oct. 8/03 - Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow at Viaduct Flats (reported by C. Saunders)

Oct. 29/03 - Rock Sandpiper at Cattle Point (reported by N. Hentze)
Nov. 4/03 - Northern Waterthrush at Martindale Rd. (reported by J. Gatten)
Nov. 7/03 - American Tree Sparrow at Swan Lake (reported by C. Saunders)
Nov. 9/03 - Brewer's Sparrow at Willeem Rd., Duncan (reported by D. Maarven)
Dec. 14/03 - Possible White-tailed Kite in Sidney (reported by J. Murray)
Dec. 26/03 - Mountain Bluebird at Blenkinsop Lake (reported by C. Saunders)


In honour of the 60th anniversary of the Victoria Natural History Society, Ann Nightingale has announced that there will be a major effort to set a new CBC local and national count record at 160 species. The previous high was first recorded by Victoria in 1991 at 152 and was tied by Ladner in 2001. If 160 is achieved, it will be a lofty record that will be hard to beat. Plans are already underway to launch the assault on the record.

more boats, to recruit more spotters, and to develop a game plan for "strategic birding" (to make sure all resident species are accounted for). The big day has already been set for Dec. 18/04 and invitations have been issued to all interested birders. There has been no confirmation that out-of-town birders will be accommodated at the Empress Hotel. Interested birders are requested to contact Ms. Nightingale at

top - Surf Birds at Clover Point (Nov. 8/03)
middle - Rock Sandpiper at Clover Point (Nov. 8/03)
bottom - Savannah Sparrow at Clover Point (Nov. 8/03)


For the uninitiated, here are a few facts and figures from the 2002 CBC. Nationally, 291 species were counted with 6 new species added to bring the Canadian CBC list to 397. If 3 new species are reported for 2003, the magic number of 400 will be achieved. B.C. topped the provinces with 218 species (Ontario was 2nd with 175) while Ladner was the top area at 136. B.C. was also number 1 in high counts with 139. On the Island, Victoria had the high count for 19 species and was tied for 1st in one other (Marbled Godwit). The other highs were Brown Creeper, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Cooper's Hawk, Whimbrel, Pigeon Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet, Anna's Hummingbird, Skylark, Bushtit, Bewick's Wren, Gold-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, Varied Thrush, American Pipit, Gold-crowned Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco. As for the rest of the Island, Nanaimo was tops in 9 species: Virginia Rail, Sora, Spotted Sandpiper, Surfbird, Belted Kingfisher, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Spotted Towhee, Pine Siskins, and Steller's Jay. Sooke was high in 5 species: Greater White-fronted goose, Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Western Screech Owl (tie), and Red Phalarope (new record). Comox led in Trumpeter Swans and White-winged Scoters. Parksville-Qualicum was tops in Black Scoters and California Gulls. Other high counts went to the Hooded Warbler in Duncan, Pacific Loons in Nanoose, Western Grebes in Campbell River, Harlequin Ducks in Deep Bay, Pelagic Cormorant in Bamfield, and Western Sandpiper on Cortes Island


A. Victoria Natural History Society - An excellent organization sponsoring organized birding activities such as field trips, seminars, presentations, bird walks and bird counts. The VNHS is a non-profit, charitable organization run by volunteers.

B. Birding in British Columbia - A Victoria-based website providing regular Nanaimo and Victoria bird alerts and detailed Victoria birding information such as locations, checklist, and specialties.

C. North American Bird Notes - A Victoria based website with an excellent section on birding the Victoria waterfront as well as photos and information on many birds.

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