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Birding in the Cariboo Mountains

Start and finish at Williams Lake, BC

Located on the Pacific Flyway, British Columbia is a birding paradise so bring your camera and your curiosity and visit us in central British Columbia where over 200 species of birds make their homes in the Cariboo Mountains. Birding comes naturally when there are huge populations of raptors, migratory and mountain birds in this widespread mountain wilderness area. Some birds are truly unique within this area of the Cariboo - the Chestnut-backed Chickadee which favours the Cedar Hemlock forests, the Varied Thrush which breeds extensively in the Cariboo Mountains down to lake level and the Tennessee Warbler and Magnolia Warbler which are primarily found in this region. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned birder this is a unique and rare experience – a very special way of getting out and enjoying the spectacular beauty of the seasons. Anchored by huge Quesnel Lake, deepest fjord lake in the world, with habitat ranging from wetlands to alpine, it provides habitat for many varied bird species. It is also one of the largest migratory staging areas in BC. Hiking through the marshlands and interior rainforest to the alpine you will meet many feathered friends, large and small, and have exceptional photo opportunities. Birds include eagles, owls, osprey, migratory birds – ducks, swans, geese, blue herons, sandhill cranes. Travelling the rivers by boat, eagles and belted king fishers keep you company along with a plethora of other birds that call the rivers home.

This is a first rate experience in an authentic Canadian wilderness classroom led by professional naturalists and birders. Phil Ranson is the Master Birder and Cariboo Mountains Bird Specialist.

Stay at Pyna-tee-ah Lodge located on the Quesnel River at the outlet of Quesnel Lake in Likely, British Columbia, at the base of the Cariboo Mountains. The lodge has 6 double occupancy bedrooms, a great room complete with stone fireplace, a pool table, and five acres of beautiful riverfront grounds.

Typical itinerary:

Day 1 Intermediate Forest Birds (low to mid-elevations)

Day 2 Alpine and Sub-Alpine Forest Birds

Day 3 Wetlands Birds

Day 4 Guest Choice – revisit one of your favourite areas or opt for a tour of a historical 1860’s Cariboo goldrush site.

Birds you can expect to see:

Boreal owls, Hawk owls, Tennessee Warblers, Horned Larks, Stellar Jays, Grey Jays ( aka “Whiskey Jack” or “Camp Robber”), 3 species of Ptarmigans, Gray Crowned Rosy Finch, Rosy Finch, American Pipit, Black Backed Woodpecker, 3 Toed Woodpecker, Golden Crowned Sparrow, Boreal Chickadee, Flycatchers, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Caliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, White Crowned Sparrow, White Throated Sparrow

In intermediate forest regions (lower to mid-elevations) you can expect to see:

Wilson Warbler, Northern Water Thrush, Fox Sparrow, Chestnut Backed Chickadee, 8 – 9 species of warblers, Juncos, Flickers, Ravens, Crows, Hermit Thrush, Swanson’s Thrush, Varied Thrush, Black Swifts, Vaux’s Swift, Pine Siskin, Magnolia Warbler, Vireo – 3 species, Grouse, Hawks – 4 - 6 species, American Goldfinch, Owls – 9 species

Water and Wetlands:

Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Common Loon, Grebes – 4 species, Mergansers – Hooded and Common, Herons, Sandhill Cranes, Hawks, Water Ousel (aka Dippers), Belted Kingfishers, Barrows Golden Eye, Canada Geese, Ducks

Photo courtesy of Ecotours