The diversity of landscapes and species throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast attracts birdwatchers from around the world. Nature lovers, with binoculars (or cameras) in hand, can take in the scenery from lakes to mountains, grasslands to rainforest, travelling along plateaus and through valleys to find an incredible variety of BC birds.
Local fishing lodges are a terrific spot to set up your birdwatching base camp, where the natural food source attracts pelicans, loons and even Sandhill Crane. In the subalpine and alpine forest, the terrain attracts American Golden-Plover, Willow Ptarmigan, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Blackpoll Warbler, among others.
Along the Chilcotin Plateau, west of Williams Lake, the fortunate can catch glimpses of American White Pelicans in local lakes, sharing their space with BC bird species including the Common Loon, Western Grebe, Cinnamon Teal and Osprey. In the evening along the Fraser River, listen to the dulcet songs of Common Poorwill or the hoot of a Flammulated Owl before heading back to a cozy cabin or lakeside lodge for a night of rest.
Farwell Canyon, south of Riske Creek, features a gorge created by the Chilcotin River, as well as ponds along the route home to Eared Grebe, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and Ruddy Duck. Nearer the canyon, eager birders keep an eye out for the rare view of Golden Eagle and Prairie Falcon, with the more prevalent White-throated Swift dashing through the grasslands.
When the Coast Mountains are in view, lakes and ponds may feature migratory Trumpeter and Tundra Swans stopping for a rest, and the shoreline is home to Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper and the more common Solitary and Spotted Sandpiper. Enthusiastic ornithologists are encouraged to stop at the Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory during August and September to watch tens of thousands of migratory birds as they travel through the Tatlayoko Valley on their southward journey.
Descending into the Bella Coola Valley, the coastal rainforest of giant Western red cedars are home to Barred Owl, Pacific Wren, Varied Thrush, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Vaux’s Swift and Pileated Woodpecker.