Saturday 23 June 2018

Manning Park Bird Blitz 2018

June 15-17 Manning Park BC

The annual Manning Park Bird Blitz is an event to look forward to. The chance to bird where coastal rainforest and dry interior overlap is a special treat and being only three hours from Metro Vancouver  is a relatively short drive. There is plenty to see. Two hundred plus bird species have been recorded in the park as well as wide variety of flora and fauna.
The weekend was organized by the
Please visit their site for other events.
Hermit Thrush

The bird blitz began Friday evening with an orientation and slide presentation. Friday night's speaker was Melissa Hafting (AKA Birder Girl) and Saturday Vaseaux Lake Bird Observatory (VLBO) director Sharon Mansiere. Hafting spoke about the importance of protecting the boreal forest and the many species which rely on it while Mansiere spoke about everything from climate change to bird collisions eventually bringing us all up to date on the many activities undertaken by VIBO 
Saturday attendees included many families with children along with a fair smattering of intermediate and experienced birders. It was heartening to see so many youngsters engaged in outdoor activities.
 Despite the occasional thunderstorm throughout the weekend the event went off like clockwork.


Saturday morning the seventy plus attendees broke into groups with the idea of covering as much of the Manning Park as possible. The organizers had chosen a dozen or more trails to explore. Each group was led by an expert or intermediate birder to aide newcomers with identification. I chose to bird Strawberry Flats with naturalist Bill Kinkaid. An all-round naturalist Bill knows his flora and fauna. Whenever the bird activity died-off he would point out plants and critters, the most striking being the four impossible to photograph Snowshoe Hares that were hopping around in a forest glade. The hares were a lifer for me.
Along the trail we began to find Canada Jays, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Sapsucker and the most common bird, the Hermit Thrush. At this higher elevation the Swainson's Thrushes were for once out numbered by their close cousin. It took awhile to tell the songs and calls apart when both birds were present.
As we made our way along the trail one of our party spotted a Spruce Grouse not more than a few metres away. Prior to the sighting we had been listening to another grouse drumming in the forest. The grouse rather than melt away into the understory drew closer to check us out. It was an awesome being so close, an experience that will be etched in my bird brain for some time to come.

Spruce Grouse
 The grouse was fearless, at one point the bird actually pecked one of the group. After spending a good ten minutes watching the bird we began to leave, only to be stopped in our tracks. The grouse was barring our way obviously upset by our intrusion. Eventually one by one we skirted around the bird, even then it continued to chase us for another twenty metres.

Spruce Grouse

We continued to find some good species, a nesting Rufous Hummingbird, a Northern Pygmy Owl, a Red-tailed Hawk and really good views of an Olive-sided Flycatcher.
Overhead were 5 Black Swifts and as we reached the ski hill we spotted both Tree and Barn Swallows. This was best place to photograph the Hermit Warblers which were perched on short pine trees next to the ski run. In the forest they were very vocal but almost impossible to see let alone photograph. A list of species seen on the three hour walk can be seen at the bottom of the blog.

After a leisurely lunch I joined another group and we birded Boyd's Meadow where the mosquitos were thick in the air. After about two kms we came to an open area where we heard a woodpecker. Soon we spotted a Three-toed Woodpecker peeling off bark and after a few minutes it briefly showed itself long enough to get the image below. We walked a little longer but the mozzies were biting through our clothing so back to the car ASAP seemed the best idea. On the way back we picked up an Osprey, a Hairy Woodpecker and a Spotted Sandpiper.

Three-toed Woodpecker.
Strawberry Flats/Manning Park
Three hours and six Kms

Dusky/Sooty Grouse 
Heard on several occasions
Cooper's Hawk 
Red-tailed Hawk 
Northern Pygmy-Owl 
Heard only
Barred Owl 
Heard Only
Black Swift 
5 birds
Rufous Hummingbird 
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Northern Flicker 
Olive-sided Flycatcher 
Willow Flycatcher 
Warbling Vireo 
Steller's Jay 
Common Raven 
Tree Swallow 
Black-capped Chickadee]
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Golden-crowned Kinglet 
Swainson's Thrush 
Hermit Thrush 
American Robin 
Varied Thrush 
Townsend's Warbler 
Wilson's Warbler 
Dark-eyed Junco 
White-crowned Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 
Spotted Towhee 

 Clarke's Nutcracker comes in for peanuts at the Lodge

"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon
BC Canada


  1. So nice you went to the Blitz and thanks for coming to my talk. What a great crowd and the Hope Mtn Centre such a great organization! The young birders there are amazing too nice to see 14 registered!

    I love your spruce grouse shots among the best ive ever seen!

  2. Fantastic summary, John, and lovely photos. We were at the event , too. It was our fourth time participating and we enjoy it more each year. Great fun!

  3. Great fun and so good to see so many young people out. Thanks for checking out the blog.