British Columbia Birding with Canadian Geographic

7 Days
Prices TBD
Land Tour
Highlights

Highlights

  • In partnership with Canadian Geographic Adventures
  • Relatively easy and productive birding among the most scenically impressive areas of the province.
  • Great chances to find a variety of mammals, including black bears, moose, elk, marmots and many more goodies.
  • Visiting some renowned touristic hotspots and travelling to some lesser-known hotspots
  • The chance to relax in the evenings over west coast cuisine and wine selection.
Partners
Map

Map

Tour Overview

Join Eagle-Eye and Canadian Geographic as we visit the highlights of southern British Columbia from the west coast rainforest to the arid grasslands of the Okanagan. British Columbia is known for its diverse set of habitats and subsequent diverse birds and other wildlife.

We begin in Vancouver on the mighty Fraser River delta. This city’s position makes it a huge draw for birders from around the world who seek migrants and breeding birds. Highlights here include exciting shorebird viewing in Boundary Bay, montane birds of the North Shore Mountains and seabirds and rainforest specialties of Stanley Park.

From here we’ll traverse inland to the famed Okanagan region, known not only for its vineyards but also for avian diversity. Areas such as Kilpoola Lake host Common Poorwills and perhaps even Sage Thrashers, while Vaseux Lake is a site where we could have our highest daily species totals for the trip. Manning Park is another highlight stopover.

Overall, this unique British Columbia birding tour offers the chance to see an incredible array of birds, in addition to some of the world’s best wildlife viewing. British Columbia is a magnificent province that has much to offer the naturalist explorer, from wild Pacific coastline to alpine tundra, and from arid desert to lush rainforest and more.

Dates & Prices

DATES & PRICES

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • All accommodation (Good quality)
  • All breakfast and lunches
  • Ground transportation (15-passenger vans)
  • 1 EET guide and an ambassador with 5 - 7 participants, 2 EET guides and an ambassador in 2 vehicles with 8 - 12 participants
  • All park, conservation and entrance fees

Tour Price Does Not Include

  • Flights to Vancouver and home from Kelowna
  • Evening meals
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Taxes (5% GST)

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Vancouver

We will meet for dinner and discuss our upcoming adventure doing a relatively short birding tour of British Columbia. Night near the Vancouver airport.

A panoramic drone view of Vancouver downtown.

Day 2: Vancouver

Iona Island is one of the best sites in a city that is renowned for good birding. We’ll listen for the chattering of Bewick’s Wren, Warbling Vireo and Bushtit as we explore this part of the Fraser River Delta. In one flock, we may see all seven species of swallows possible in Western Canada! From here we’ll head right into picturesque downtown Vancouver and through the rainforest environs of Stanley Park. We’ll cross over to the north shore for an early dinner and to check out Maplewood Flats Conservation Area or hike the forests of Grouse Mountain. Night near the Vancouver airport.

Bewick's Wren

Day 3: Boundary Bay and on to Manning Park

We continue our Lower Mainland, this time stopping on the Fraser Delta to see where B.C.’s largest river empties into the Straight of Georgia. While here we may try for a roosting Barn Owl or some shorebirds at Brunswick Point before we explore the renowned Boundary Bay, an incredibly important stopover site for shorebirds. We then head east and drive to the Cascade Mountains. Night at Manning Park Lodge.

British Columbia Birding with Canadian Geographic

Days 4 - 6: The Okanagan

Manning Park is a stunning, mountainous area. Depending on the snowpack in the mountains, we may be able to drive fairly high up into the montane zone to pick up some higher elevation species such as Boreal Chickadee, Pine Grosbeak, Clark’s Nutcracker and Spruce Grouse. We often see Black Bears eating grass on the roadsides. At Lightning Lake we’ll have a look in the Engelmann Spruce forest for both species of Crossbill, Canada Jay and Northern Goshawk. We visit a roadside site where American Dipper nests. After lunch we’ll continue east and soon enter the Great Basin ecosystem. Nighthawk Road is a great introduction to sagebrush habitat where hopefully we’ll catch Brewer’s and Lark Sparrows singing in the evening and with much luck we could encounter something rare such as a Sage Thrasher. These birds seem to arrive annually from south of the border, which is just over the hill. We arrive in the splendid Okanagan Valley in early evening and prepare for two final days of birding— possibly the best yet.

While in the Okanagan we’ll explore the best options for sagebrush and dry forest birding. Small lakes will hold plenty of ducks including Cinnamon Teal and Redhead. Near Oliver we’ll watch breeding Wilson’s Phalaropes try to out-compete Bobolinks for our attention while we search grasslands and patches of water birch for more amazing birds. At Vaseux Lake we’ll investigate the riparian areas for migrant surprises while listening to Canyon and Rock Wren both singing from the cliffs above (Marsh, House, Bewick’s and Pacific Wrens are also present!). California Bighorn Sheep have a stronghold here. We’ll scan for large and small birds alike, including Golden Eagles across the lake and Rufous, Black-chinned and Calliope Hummingbirds in the forests. Lewis’ Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Lazuli Bunting and Pygmy Nuthatch each have their favourite tree species to cling to, and Great Gray Owl is a possibility, offering those “Nat Geo” photo opportunities. At White Lake we’ll look and listen for Grasshopper Sparrow and Gray Flycatcher.

If we need a breather there’s always a nearby winery to lunch at, or we can dip our feet into the warm waters of Osoyoos Lake nearby our hotel. Two nights in Osoyoos, final night in Kelowna near the airport.

Okanagan birding

Day 7: Departure

Our British Columbia birding tour ends today. Breakfast is available, but you can depart for flights home anytime today from the Kelowna airport. There are regular flights to several Canadian destinations from here.

Marsh Wren

What to Expect

Overview
Our British Columbia tour with Canadian Geographic is primarily a birding tour, but we will also look for other wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty of British Columbia.

The daily travel schedule varies to account for weather, bird species and habitat, but it is a fairly fast-paced tour due to the variety of habitats, locations and large distances we cover during this tour. Most mornings we are out early before breakfast, but return to have breakfast around 8. We will spend the remainder of our morning birding, before a leisurely lunch around noon. Afternoons will be either spent driving to our next destination, or birding with a possible break to recharge. In the evenings we will relax after dinner, but there are some night excursions scheduled to search for owls and other nightlife. These are always optional.

Food
Breakfast is usually at the hotel after a morning in the field. Lunch is often at a restaurant, or in the field. Dinner is always at a good restaurant not far from the accommodation. During dinner we usually discuss the day’s activities and review the list of birds seen and heard.

Accommodation
Accommodations during the tour vary from spacious and comfortable to charming.

Walking
This tour involves generally moderate walking, with some slippy/uneven/steep sections. We will encounter slippery trail sections, have a short climb or two and find ourselves in uneven terrain. That being said, the general walking of this tour is suitable for people of any condition. The longest walk potentially will be our search for Flammulated Owl and Common Poorwill, requiring us to walk on an unpaved road at night, 2-3 kilometers, before turning back and doing that same distance again. Given that it is nighttime, the walk could be somewhat intimidating, however we are in a group and have portable flashlights to make this a doable endeavor for everyone.

Driving
There is a fair bit of driving during this tour, with some daily driving stints of 2-3 hours likely. Windy roads are uncommon but not unexpected.

Climate
The tour will take place during the BC Summer, so rain is possible, although uncommon. That being said, we potentially visit some high-altitude areas, where wind is a potential hassle, as well as night excursions, during which bugs (mosquitos) can be annoying. Long-sleeved shirts/sweaters, a poncho or raincoat and at least one warm overall are recommended. During this tour we will visit the alpine, subalpine, desert, coast and more. This means a high variety of temperatures and weather circumstances. Bringing a raincoat, hoodie, appropriate layers for underneath and both long pants as well as shorts is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of joining a tour with Canadian Geographic?
Eagle-Eye Tours and Canadian Geographic partnered in 2022 to develop some amazing tours in Canada and beyond. The Eagle-Eye Tours in-house logistics team still handles all of the details, and we still send one or two of our expert guides, so you can expect the same great experience you would have on our other tours. But in addition, you will be joined by a Canadian Geographic ambassador. The ambassador is selected from among the Society’s Explorers-in-Residence program, or its College of Fellows, or a Can Geo Photographer-in-Residence or Filmmaker-in-Residence. The ambassador serves as an extra resource during your tour. Whereas our EET guides will be expert birders and naturalists, the Can Geo ambassador will contribute insights in other areas such as history, exploration or culture. You will feel an amazing benefit from having these interesting individuals come along on your travels. Guest experiences are further enhanced by a pre-trip virtual meet-and-greet, customized digital libraries from Canadian Geographic’s award-winning story collection, a Can Geo welcome package and, if you choose to subscribe to the magazine, membership in the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Eagle-Eye Tours standard terms and conditions apply. A portion of the fees from every Canadian Geographic Adventure booked is donated to the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to further its important programming.

Featured Wildlife

While we cannot guarantee sightings of the birds or mammals listed below, we believe that encountering these species is quite likely during this tour.

  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Dusky Grouse
  • Williamson’s, Red-naped, and Red-breasted Sapsucker
  • Lewis’s Woodpecker
  • Canyon and Rock Wrens
  • Bald Eagle
  • Flammulated Owl
  • Common Poorwill
  • Calliope Hummingbird
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • White-throated Swift
  • Yellow-breasted Chat
  • Gray Flycatcher
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler
  • Yellow-bellied Marmot
  • Mountain Goat
  • Black Bear