Birding Vancouver and Vancouver Island

Species List

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All information given here is from my own point of view and need not to be accurate (although I hope it mostly is). Sometimes I use words like "common" or "few" etc., especially for bird species which are not of big interest for people travelling from Europe or places in North America to Canada (also my personal opinion). These words mean (nearly) nothing, they are only showing my laziness.
Birds we saw
Mammals we met
Other animals

Bird species (Note: Pictures with blue frames can be enlarged)

(according to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Field Guide to the Birds of North America)
Loons to Herons Swans to 
Birds of prey to Cranes Shorebirds to Terns Auks to Woodpeckers Vireos to Thrushes Starling to Sparrows

Loons to Herons

Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) Pazifiktaucher
Only few, the first on September 19th flying over north of Tofino while whale watching. In the following days more sightings, especially on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Common LoonCommon Loon (Gavia immer) Eistaucher
Very common at the coast and also still some birds on the lakes.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) Ohrentaucher
Only small numbers along the coast, but regularly seen.

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Schwarzhalstaucher
At least one together with Horned Grebes at the jetty north of Tsawassen

Pied-billed Grebe (Podlymbus podiceps) Bindentaucher
Single birds on freshwater lakes, e.g. Iona Island, near Victoria, Snakehead Lake, Reifel Bird Sanctuary etc.

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) Rothalstaucher
Most common grebe along the coast, everywhere in big numbers.

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) Renntaucher
1 at Iona Island on  the 14th, later groups of up to 30 along the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) Dunkler Sturmtaucher
Several hundred in the Johnson Strait near Telegraph Cove on the 23rd, best seen while whale watching.
3 dark shearwaters were seen on a whale watching tour north of tofino, most probably also Sootys.

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) Ohrenscharbe
Most common Cormorant, everywhere along the coast.

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) Meerscharbe
Not in big numbers, but also common

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Nachtreiher
2-3 ad. at Reifels Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.

Great Blue Heron, click for bigger imageGreat Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Kanadareiher

Swans to Ducks

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) Höckerschwan
Some at Cowichan Bay and 3 at Esquimalt Lagoon on the 25th.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser) Graugans
One was on the 26th at Whiffin Spit. Most probably an escapee.

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) Schneegans
A flock of 27 were seen on the 26th over East Sooke Park flying east.

Canada GooseCanada Goose (Branta canadensis) Kanadagans

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) Brautente
3 at a small lake near Victoria on the 16th. Some at Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Stockente

Gadwall (Anas strepera) Schnatterente

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca carolinensis) Krickente

American Wigeon (Anas americana) Amerikanische Pfeifente

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) Spießente
Along the east coast, estuaries.

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) Löffelente

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) Ringschnabelente
3 at Iona Island South Jetty on the 14th, 3 near Buttle Lake on the 21st.

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) Bergente
A small flock of about 10 near Tsawassen on the 15th.

Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra) Trauerente
The rarest scoter, e.g. 7 near Courtenay on the 20th.

White-winged Scoter (Velvet Scoter)White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca) Samtente
Regularly seen, but only small numbers.

Surf ScoterSurf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) Brillenente
Big numbers everywhere along the coast.

Harlequin DuckHarlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) Kragenente
Along the coast, mostly pairs, but few males in their colorful plumage.

Barrows Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) Spatelente
Only one female at Buttle Lake on the 21st.
Another Bucephala duck was seen near Sayward, but was too far for ID.

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) Gänsesäger
Not so common, but seen on a regular basis.

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) Kappensäger
Small numbers along the coast and on big lakes, e.g. Buttle Lake. Only one male in full plumage at Victoria waterfront on the 25th.

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Schwarzkopfruderente
About 5 on Iona Island on the 14th.

Birds of prey to Cranes

Turkey VultureTurkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Truthahngeier
Along the east coast of Vancouver Island regularly small flocks heading southwards, big numbers of up to 1000 birds at East Sooke Park on September 26th.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Fischadler
1 at Cowichan Bay on the 17th, 1 at Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th, and 1 at?

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) Kornweihe
Single birds at Iona Island, Tsawassen, Long Beach etc.

Bald EagleBald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Weißkopfseeadler
The first was an adult at Pacific Rim Long Beach on the 18th, some adults around Telegraph Cove, the only immature bird was on the 24th near Campbell River and the last one was on the ferry to Tsawassen on the 27th.

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) Eckschwanzsperber
Single birds on the 26th at Wittys Lagoon and East Sooke Park.

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) Rundschwanzsperber
2 at Iona Island on the 14th.

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) Habicht
1 at Wittys Lagoon on the 26th.

Red-tailed Hawk juv.Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Rotschwanzbussard
Single birds everywhere. The photo of a juvenile was taken at Parksville.

Merlin (Falco columbarius) Merlin
1 at Oak Bay, Victoria on the 16th.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) Wanderfalke
2 at Iona Island on the 14th.

TurkeyWild(?) Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) Truthuhn
1 female with chicks near Roosevelt Creek Park south of Courtenay on the 20th. NOTE: There is no native populationon the island. All these birds are either escapees or recent decendents. They are not "countable".

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Kragenhuhn
A female crossed the road in front of our car north of Port Renfrew on the 24th.

Blue GrouseBlue Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) Felsengebirgshuhn
A male walked on the trail while hiking down from the Black Tusk Area on the 28th.

White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) Weißschwanzschneehuhn
2 most probably White-tailed Ptarmigans were seen flying while scanning the mountains around Garibaldi Lake with a scope for Mountain Goat (without success) on the 28th.

California QuailCalifornia Quail (Callipepla californica) Schopfwachtel
A flock of about ten were seen at Island View Beach on the 15th.

American CootAmerican Coot (Fulica americana) Amerikanisches Bläßhuhn
Only few, e.g. at Iona Island on the 14th and at Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Kanadakranich
One bird at a small lake near Victoria on the 16th. About 3 at Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.

Shorebirds to Terns

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) Kiebitzregenpfeifer
Single birds along the coast.

Semipalmated PloverSemipalmated Plover (Charadrias semipalmatus) Amerikanischer Sandregenpfeifer
About 4 at the jetty north of Tsawassen on the 15th and 9 near Greenpoint Campsite, Pacific Rim, on the 19th.

KilldeerKilldeer (Charadrius vociferus) Keilschwanzregenpfeifer
The most common plover, although not often seen.

Black OystercatcherBlack Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) Klippenausternfischer
Single birds e.g. at Victoria Waterfront and Pacific Rim National Park, Long Beach.

Greater Yellowleg (Tringa melanoleuca) Großer Gelbschenkel
One near Courtenay on the 24th and at Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.

Lesser Yellowleg (Tringa flavipes) Kleiner Gelbschenkel
One bird at a small lake near Victoria on the 16th.

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia) Drosseluferläufer
Only single birds near Port Renfrew on the 25th and at Whiffin Spit on the 26th.

Black TurnstoneBlack Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) Schwarzkopfsteinwälzer
Several birds e.g. at Victoria Waterfront, Long Beach, at rocky areas along the east coast and at Whiffin Spit.

Surfbird (Aphriza virgata) Gischtläufer
A small flock of about 10 at Oak Bay Victoria on the 16th and on a rock near Greenpoint campsite, Pacific Rim on the 19th.

Sanderling (Calidris alba) Sanderling
Our first wader at Iona Island (and only there) on the 14th.

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) Alpenstrandläufer
1 in winter plumage with Western Sandpipers and Black Turnstones at Whiffin Spit on the 25th.

Western SandpiperWestern Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) Bergstrandläufer
For us the most common Calidris species along the Coast, several at Iona Island and at Whiffin Spit.

Least SandpiperLeast Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) Wiesenstrandläufer
Some birds at muddy areas along the coast.

Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) Bairdstrandläufer
Only one bird through the scope of a local birder at Iona Island on the 14th. (my scope was still on the way :-(()

Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) Graubruststrandläufer
Few at Iona Island on the 14th and at a small lake near Victoria.

Dowitcher spec.Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) Kleiner Schlammläufer
2 at Oak Bay, Victoria on the 16th, and at Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.

Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) Großer Schlammläufer
Good numbers at Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.
Some unidentified Dowitchers along the coast and in the harbour of Ucluelet.

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) Bekassine
Single birds at a small lake near Victoria on the 16th.

Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) Schmarotzerraubmöwe
Only at Clover Point, Victoria: 1 ad., 1 imm. on the 16th, 2 imm. on the 25th.

Heermann's GullHeermann's Gull (Larus heermanni) Heermannmöwe
Regularly in small numbers at Clover Point, some while whale watching from Tofino on the 19th.

Bonaparte's GullBonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia) Bonapartemöwe
Common, but mostly in small numbers along the coast.

Ring-billed GullRing-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Ringschnabelmöwe

Mew GullMew Gull (Larus canus brachyrhynchus) Sturmmöwe
The smallest of three subspecies. Seen regularly.

California GullCalifornia Gull (Larus californicus) Kaliforniermöwe
Only few adult birds at Clover Point and Esquimalt Lagoon, some immatures around.

Western GullWestern Gull (Larus occidentalis) Westmöwe
Do hybridize with Glaucous-winged Gull, one darker bird (less hybridized?) at Clover Point on the 16th.

Glaucous-winged GullGlaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) Beringmöwe
Most common gull, everywhere along the coast.

Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) Dreizehenmöwe
Single birds while whale watching from Telegraph Cove on the 23rd.

Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) Raubseeschwalbe
6 at Iona Island on the 14th, 2 at Tsawassen on the 15th.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) Flussseeschwalbe
Only few, e.g. at Tsawassen on the 15th.

Auks to Woodpeckers

Common Murre (Uria aalge) Trottellumme
On the sea, best seen during the whale watching tours. Commonest Auk.

Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) Taubenteiste
Only single birds at Clover Point and on the whale watching tour from Tofino.

Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) Marmelalk
About 5 individuals while whale watching from Tofino on the 19th.

Rhinoceros AukletRhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) Nashornalk
On the sea, seen from Clover Point, while whale watching and at Sayward and Telegraph Cove on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata) Bandtaube
In the agricultural and urban areas of Vancouver Island, e.g. around Nanaimo.

Rock Dove (Columba livia f. domestica) Haustaube
In urban areas.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) Sumpfohreule
Our first bird of the trip in the early morning of the 14th at Iona Island.

Barred OwlBarred Owl (Strix varia) Streifenkauz
1 bird on the 26th at the East Sooke Park parking lot at about 3 pm. Hunting successfully on Garter Snake.

Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) Nachtfalke
Only one bird at dusk on the 16th near Cowichan Bay.

Vaux's Swift (Chaetura vauxi) Graubauchsegler
About 10 at Telegraph Cove on the 22nd. Later some near East Sooke Park.

Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) Gürtelfischer
Common along the coast.

Northern FlickerNorthern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) Goldspecht
Most common woodpecker, also in urban areas.

Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) Feuerkopfsaftlecker
Only 1 on the 18th near Ucluelet at the street to Port Albion.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Dunenspecht
Only 1 near Cowichan Bay on the 17th.

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) Haarspecht
A woodpecker of the mountains (?), seen at Strathcona Park and Garibaldi Park.

Vireos to Thrushes

Hutton's VireoHutton's Vireo (Vireo huttoni) Huttonvireo
1 on the 18th at Pacific Rim Rainforest Trail.

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) Sängervireo
1 on the 20th  at Courtenay.

Steller's JaySteller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) Diademhäher
Common in forest areas, looking for food at campsites.

Gray JayGray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) Meisenhäher
Only at higher elevations (above 1000 m), feeds from your hand, Garibaldi Park.

Northwestern CrowNorthwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) Sundkrähe

RavenCommon Raven (Corvus corax) Kolkrabe

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) Ohrenlerche
Only one at Iona South Jetty on the 14th.

Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) Uferschwalbe
At least 1 among the Barn Swallows on Iona Island on the 14th.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) Rauchschwalbe
Still some around.

Black-capped ChickadeeBlack-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) Schwarzkopfmeise
Only on the main land, there abundant.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) Rotrückenmeise
Only seen on Vancouver Island, common in Forests.

Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) Andenbaumläufer
Only in the south, e.g. at Wittys Lagoon on the 26th.

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) Kanadakleiber
The first one in Vancouver on the 14th, rarely seen.

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) Zaunkönig
Often heard on Vancouver Island, one of the few passerine songs I was familiar with.

Bewick's Wren (Troglodytes bewickii) Buschzaunkönig
One seen at East Sooke Park on the 26th.

Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) Sumpfzaunkönig
Hank Vanderpol showed me one near Victoria, but I am not familiar with the calls...

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) Grauwasseramsel
1 at Marble River near the road from Telegraph Cove to Port Alice on the 23rd.

Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) Indianergoldhähnchen
Common in forest areas.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) Rubingoldhähnchen
Only seen in the south, e.g. Wittys Lagoon and East Sooke Park.

(Swainson's Thrush) (Catharus ustulatus) Zwergdrossel
A dead bird (road kill) was found near Sayward on the 22nd. Probably another at Iona Jetty on the 14th.

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) Einsiedlerdrossel
1 East Sooke Park on the 26th.

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) Halsbanddrossel
Single birds in forest areas.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Wanderdrossel
In forest and urban areas, but not in big numbers.

Starling to Sparrows

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Star

American PipitAmerican Pipit (Anthus rubescens) Pazifischer Wasserpieper
Some on passage, best place was Iona Jetty.

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) Zedernseidenschwanz
Few in Vancouver and around Victoria.

Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens) Trauerwaldsänger
At least one in a mixed species flock at Wittys Lagoon on the 26th.

Townsend's Warbler (Dendroica townsendi) Townsendwaldsänger
At least one in a mixed species flock at Wittys Lagoon on the 26th.

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) Weidengelbkehlchen
Perhaps a common bird, if you know the calls, Hank Vanderpol showed us some near Victoria.

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) Rötelgrundammer (westliche?)
1 at Cowichan Bay on the 17th and at Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) Fuchsammer
The first at Strathcona Park, single birds at Reifel Bird Sanctuary and elsewhere. The Song Sparrow subspecies in the area looks also very dark!

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) Grasammer

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolni) Lincolammer
Hard to find, if you do not know the calls, Hank Vanderpol showed us some near Victoria.

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) Singammer
Perhaps the most common sparrow.

White-crowned SparrowWhite-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) Dachsammer
Single birds around.

Golden-crowned SparrowGolden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) Kronenammer
One bird together with a White-crowned Sparrow at Parksville on the 17th.

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) Junko
Regularly seen, mostly in forest areas.

Red-winged BlackbirdRed-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) Rotschulterstärling
A common bird in marsh areas, e.g. Iona Island and Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Brewer's BlackbirdBrewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) Purpurstärling
Best seen at Esquimalt Lagoon.

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) Braunkopfkuhstärling
Only on the mainland while driving to Reifel Bird Sanctuary on the 27th.

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) Hausgimpel
Common in and near Vancouver.

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) Fichtenkreuzschnabel
The most common finch in the forests on Vancouver Island.

Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus) Fichtenzeisig
Forests on Vancouver Island.

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) Goldzeisig
Only near Victoria on the 16th.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Haussperling
Only in Victoria City.

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Mammal Species:

Bat spec. Fledermaus spec.

Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Kaninchen

Red SquirrelRed Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus lanuginosus) Baumhörnchen
Regularly. Sometimes very gregarious animals, in the forests easily mistaken for a bird.

Canadian Beaver (Castor canadensis) Kanadischer Biber
1 at Keta Lake north of Campbell River on the 23rd.

Vole spec. (Microtus spec. ?) Wühlmaus spec.
We saw one grey vole at Garibaldi Lake on the 28th.

Black Bear (Ursus americanus) Schwarzbär
1 at the entrance of  Pcific Rim N.P., crossing the street on the 17th.

Coyote (Canis latrans) Kojote
1 in Garibaldi Park on the road from the Rubble Creek Parking Lot back to the highway on the 28th.

Mink (Mustela vison) Amerikanischer Nerz, Mink
1 at Telegraph Cove on the 22nd and 1 at Port Renfrew on the 25th.

River Otter (Lutra canadensis) Fischotter
1 at Esquimalt Lagoon on the 25th.

Raccoon (Procyon lotor) Waschbär
Only some road kills, e.g. near Port Alberni on the 17th.

Harbour SealHarbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) Seehund
Common along the coast.

Steller's Sea LionSteller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) Seelöwe
Mostly on the west coast, there is a Sea Lion Rock at Greenpoint Campsite, Pacific Rim. We saw them also while whale watching from Tofino. 1 near Telegraph Cove on the 23rd. There are two species in the area, the non-migratory Steller's Sea Lion and the migratory California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus), which is darker.

Roosevelt Elk (Cervus canadensis) Roosevelthirsch
1 female by the road and 5 at the bridge near Port Renfrew on the 24th.

Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) Schwarzwedelhirsch
Common, often along the road.

Gray WhaleGray Whale (Eschrichtius gibbosus) Grauwal
1 on the whale watching tour from Tofino on the 19th.

Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Minkwal
1 on the whale watching tour from Telegraph Cove on the 23rd.

Dall's Porpoises (Phocoena dallii) Dallhafenschweinswal
Some were seen from Sayward on the 22nd and on the whale watching tour from Telegraph Cove on the 23rd.

OrcaOrca (Orcinus orca) Schwertwal
2 males, at least 1 female and one young on the whale watching tour from Telegraph Cove on the 23rd.

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Garter SnakeGarter Snake (Thamnophis spec.) Strumpfbandnatter
Dark ones at Pacific Rim, Long Beach, pale ones near Sayward, but which species??

SalmonSalmon (Salmo spec.) Lachs
Especially from the bridge near Port Renfrew we had good looks at Salmon.

SealifeSealife Meeresgetier
Some Starfish and other Sealife in the tidepools at Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew and at Pacific Rim N.P. Long Beach.

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© Tewinkel


other pictures:
Common Loon; gimmer.jpg
Western Sandpiper; westsan.jpg
Juvenile Glaucous-winged Gull; gull1.jpg
Western Gull; westgull.jpg
California Gull; calgull1.jpg
California Gull; calgull2.jpg
Savannah Sparrow; sparrow.jpg
White-crowned Sparrow; sparrow2.jpg

more pictures at: