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Fall Birds to Find and the Six Places to see Them in Langford

Fall Birds to Find and the Six Places to see Them in Langford

While birdwatching is popular all year long in Greater Victoria, many binoculars are out at Langford bird-watching hot spots this fall when large numbers of bird migrations take place.

“The two exciting things about fall is migration season is still underway and the second one is, of course, the salmon run season,” said Hollie Galloway, project coordinator of The BC Bird Trail.

It’s in the fall season, which goes until mid to late December, said Galloway, that birds are making their way from summer breeding grounds – which can be north of the Arctic Circle for many species – and heading south for a warmer winter.

And while Galloway said due to the stable climate on the Island, there are not really birds that we see only in fall, there are many species that you are much more likely to see and in larger congregations.

“In the summer, you might see one or two (of a species); this time of year you might see 10 or 15 and that goes for things like dark-eyed junco. We also get waterfowl that are passing through, like Barrows goldeneye and we tend to see tiny pied-billed grebes.”

Now is also the best time for viewing bald eagles at Goldstream Provincial Park. From late October through to November, their prey, salmon, are spawning along the river.

But there are many other birds to keep a lookout for.

The chestnut-backed chickadee is one of the most abundant species in the Langford area. This smart bird’s hippocampus (in the brain) grows every fall so it can remember where it stored all its hard work in seed caches through the winter.

Brewer’s blackbirds, often confused with starlings and red-winged blackbirds, are usually seen on the ground, foraging for grasses, seeds, and insects. Kinglets such as ruby- and golden-crowned, fox and golden-crowned sparrows, as well as varied thrushes, will also be hanging around the forest trails.

Visitors can keep track of birds they find on the BC Bird Trail free mobile app.

And of course, it’s not just the birds that are part of fall birdwatching’s allure.

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A male Brewer’s blackbird, identifiable by glossy black feathers with a greenish iridescence. (Courtesy The BC Bird Trail)

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“For me this time of year it’s the colours on the landscape,” Galloway said. “You get the beautiful maples starting to change colours and the vegetation is just a beautiful golden hue.”

BC Bird Trail’s website highlights six picturesque birdwatching spots around Langford.

Glen Lake Park is great for families, with a playground, swimming beach and a boardwalk from which to spot waterfowl.

In the city, the 4.5 km Ed Nixon Trail runs through the forest and alongside the southwestern curve of Langford Lake, where one might spot American coots, mergansers and duck species.

Mount Wells Regional Park is 123 hectares of second-growth forest and mossy rock outcrops with a steep and challenging hike to the summit. On the journey are turkey vultures, band-tailed pigeons and ruffed grouse.

An easier hike, the 1.5 km Strachan Trail follows the eastern shore of Florence Lake. Visitors might spot double-crested cormorants, pine siskins and several swallow species.

Goldstream Provincial Park’s trail winds through old-growth Douglas firs, past an impressive 150-foot waterfall and alongside the stream.

Last but not least, Mount Finlayson is a steep, rugged, and challenging hike where turkey vultures are a common sight circling the mountain. It’s also one of the best spots around Langford to see a golden eagle, a rarity in the area.

Birdwatchers ready to have a real hoot can visit bcbirdtrail.ca/field-notes/bc-birding-in-fall.

Fall birds to find and the six places to see them in Langford – Goldstream News Gazette (goldstreamgazette.com)

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