Sooke, British Columbia
- March 17, 1999
||As part of a family visit, I had the opportunity
to revisit the Whiffen Spit, a favourite birding location when I am in
Sooke on Vancouver Island. This 3/4 mile long sand spit separates Sooke
Harbour from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the state of Washington. See
|The spit is a favorite place for an early
morning walk on a beautiful day for local birders and other nature lovers
(and their dogs, which seem to totally ignore the birds...). The seaward
side of the spit is home to many ocean-going birds. The rough surf seems
to be particularly popular in the winter with Harlequin Ducks who usually
can be spotted tumbling in the waves. The calmer harbour side attracts
diving and dabbling ducks along with shorebirds, geese and herons. And
who knows what might be lurking in the trees around Harbour
House (with one of the 10 best restaurants in Canada, according to
Gourmet magazine - check it out only if you're not a budget birder).
the seaward side of the spit toward the Cascades in Washington State and
|Sooke is the home of a large raptor migration
in the spring and fall, with large kettles of turkey vultures and hawks
passing overhead. Bald Eagles are year-round residents.
at the Spit
|My bird list from a two hour stint at
the spit included: Pigeon Guillemot, American Wigeons, Black Oystercatcher,
Surf Scoters, Harlequin Ducks, Brant, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Red-breasted
Merganser, Common and Pacific Loons, Canada Geese, Mallards,
Common Goldeneye, Northwestern Crows,
Herring and Mew Gulls, and Great Blue Heron.
|While we were in Sooke, we stayed at a
great bed and breakfast, the
Spit Lodge, about 30 minutes from Victoria. Our British hosts, Al and
Sheila Carter, although not birders themselves, were incredibly helpful
in providing maps and directions to the other local birding "hotspots",
including Witty's Lagoon, Esquimault
Lagoon, and the Hawk
Watch site in East Sooke Park. Whiffen Spit is only a 10 minute walk
away from the B&B! They also arranged a fishing trip for us, so we
feasted on fresh crab (and froze the two salmon) as well as enjoying the
full English breakfasts.
In the garden
behind the Lodge are many feeders and nest boxes for enjoying with afternoon
- Al and Sheila Carter
at the Lodge (my husband, Duncan, and my mother-in-law, Marjorie)
|On the way back to our temporary base
in Duncan, we stopped off at Art Mann Park, and saw these beautiful birds...
All right... I know they are an introduced
species, but I welcome all immigrants to Canada, including the avian variety.
Besides, I thought this was a nice picture!
All in all, a great day or two of birding!
at Art Mann Park
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