Young Birder Trip to Manning Park

We had a great Young Birder Trip to Manning Park today, 8 of us left Vancouver at 7 am. It was our first trip with 12 year old young birder Adam Dhalla and he fit right in with our group. We were in  a Suburban SUV and it was so fancy there was WIFI in the car, leather seats, sun roof and TV screens with with blu-ray players for the passengers. We didn't use any of this since we were birding but it was super cool. We stopped in at Hope Airport briefly to see if we found the reported Northern Mockingbird or a Western Kingbird but no dice!

As we were on Hwy 3 and about 2 km before we got to the lodge, we saw 2 Black Bears. Ian spotted the first one in the gravel pit which we all got out and took pictures of as he was a safe distance away. We were happy to see he was the same bear we had seen two years ago. We could tell this due to the large scar on his snout. See our previous trip report HERE for a photo. I spotted the second one who was a Cinnamon Black Bear right by the side of the road. The Cinnamon Black Bear came very close to our car, as he grazed, so we stayed in the car and watched him from there. The kids got full frame shots of his face. He was stunning to look at! When you are taking bear photos please DO NOT do THIS.

Cinnamon Black Bear just Grazing and Chillin'! - Photo: Ian Harland

Cinnamon Black  Bear Portrait taken right by our car - Photo: Joshua Brown

"Cinnamon" Black Bear - Photo: Katya Kondratyuk
This is the same Black Bear we saw in the park 2 years ago! - Photo: Adam Dhalla

We started off going up the road to the Cascade Lookout to look for grouse before all the cars arrived. We didn't see any grouse at all. We also did not see any Pika or Yellow-bellied Marmots as on previous trips. We had gorgeous views of the Cascade Mountains both in the US and Canada. When we got to the top at the lookout. We parked and immediately parked and began feeding the Clark's Nutcrackers, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels and Yellow-pine Chipmunks! We also saw Common Ravens. We heard Cassin's Finches here and a flock of Pine Grosbeaks flew over that only some in the group saw as they were immersed with feeding the rodents :).

Clark's Nutcracker Side Profile - Photo: Viktor Vandereyk
Clark's Nutcrackers were admired by all - Photo: Katya Kondratyuk

After a good chunk of time photographing and feeding the menagerie we started to go up to Alpine Meadows since the road was open. 4 weeks ago the flowers were not in bloom and the road was closed a few hundred metres past the Cascade Lookout. We looked to no avail for Grouse on the way up. When we got up we heard Cassin's Finches, 1 lone Gray Jay and saw Pine Siskins.We looked at the beautiful alpine flowers being careful to stay on the trails not to step on any. We then heard a loud Pine Grosbeak calling. He must have been close! So we went down the Heather Trail and found a Russet Male singing his heart away. I do love their pretty songs. It was a lifer for a few in the group. The bugs were bad here and I was glad I brought bug spray and sprayed it on the kids who needed it. Next we headed back down the mountain keeping our eyes open for grouse but by now all parking lots and roads were inundated with traffic and it was hard to see any birds in the dust clouds. We did end up seeing a Mountain Bluebird, many Chipping Sparrows and Hermit Thrushes though. Ian also spotted a Snowshoe Hare!

Singing male Pine Grosbeak- Photo: Ian Harland
When we got to the base we headed straight for Lightning Lake where we had a lovely walk around the emerald lake. It was boiling hot as we were in a heat wave the temperature on the car read 36 degrees Celsius. We all sprayed the sunscreen I brought but I must have missed a bit of my chest and shoulders as I got burnt. When my dark skin gets burned you know it's hot! Luckily the kids actually know how to apply sunscreen! Haha. We had a pleasant walk and had many Chestnut-backed Chickadees,Pacific Wren, heard a Northern Waterthrush, saw a few Western Tanager, Western Wood-Pewee, Hammond's Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher. We had great views of Yellow, Wilson's, Yellow-rumped and Townsend's Warblers and a Red-breasted Nuthatch. Just when we were about the leave we caught sight of a Red-naped Sapsucker that landed on the grass. As quick as he landed he was gone. Luckily he was the first of 3 we would see that day.

By this time it was after 1pm and time for lunch! We went to Lightning Lake and had a lunch with Lightning Lake as our backdrop. We were surrounded by Columbian Ground Squirrels. We saw a Common Raven and it's fledglings, a Steller's Jay and a few Clark's Nutcrackers. We also saw Canada Geese with 3 Goslings and tree Swallows. An Osprey flew above us several times.

Feeding the Steller's Jays is always a joy for the kids - Photo: Melissa Hafting
The Columbian Ground Squirrels provided great entertainment - Photo: Katya Kondratyuk

Next we went to Twenty Minute Lake where we had Warbling Vireos, a calling Mountain Chickadee, a Belted Kingfisher and Spotted Sandpiper. The best thing of all we saw was a Common Goldeneye with her 7 ducklings! This was reminiscent of our last trip where we saw a Common Goldeneye with 11 ducklings!

We proceeded on towards Strawberry Flats where we hoped to feed the Gray Jays and get an American Three-toed Woodpecker! We had success there last year and it's my favorite place to find the. Well on this day we dipped on both! I still can't believe we didn't see a single Gray Jay they seem to be always there stealing food from the hand like on my previous visit with Ilya 4 weeks ago see HERE.

We did see some nice birds along this trail and it was a pleasant walk despite the hot heat! The birds we saw on this trail were a Red-naped Sapsucker,Olive-sided Flycatcher, Chipping Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Varied Thrush, Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes.

We walked back slightly disappointed but still in good spirits because we were off now to the Eastgate to try for Waterthrush where Ilya and I had one last year. Well we got to the spot and before I could even open the car door there was a Red-naped Sapsucker on the road right by the car! We hopped to see a Ruffed Grouse here which is a nemesis bird for young birder Joshua Brown. Unfortunately we didn't hear or see one and the heat was now sweltering. We ended up seeing the Northern Waterthrush as it sang loudly. This bird was a lifer for three of the kids and since most of us in Vancouver don't see a Waterthrush often it was a treat for us all! A Hairy Woodpecker was calling in the distance along with an American Crow. We also heard and saw many Yellow and a MacGillivray's Warblers and a Spotted Sandpiper.

Northern Waterthrush - Photo: Adam Dhalla
By now we were really hot from the baking sun and decided to head to the lodge for a freezing cold Popsicle/ice cream and cold drinks. We got there and got those and I was pleasantly surprised to see the hummingbird feeders were rehung on the newly constructed lodge. They weren't there on my last visit in May.

Bridget Spencer told us about a time she had an Anna's Hummingbird perch on her hand.The footage is pretty incredible. Wish my hummers did that! Thanks for sharing Bridget.

Here the kids had great fun feeding the Ground Squirrels, Steller's Jays, Clark's Nutcrackers and Brown-headed Cowbirds. At one point Bridget had 2 of the fearless Ground-Squirrels and a Clark's Nutcracker on her tummy. I had to take a picture! 

Couldn't help laughing at Bridget and her new friends! - Photos: Melissa Hafting

We may have missed some of our targets (Grouse of any species but esp Ruffed and Spruce and American Three-toed Woodpeckers and Gray Jays to feed) but we had a wonderful day in terrific company. Looking forward to our next trip July 15th.

Young Birders at Lightning Lake in Manning Park, BC - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Here is the list of Bird species seen during our trip:

Barn Swallow
American Crow
Turkey Vulture
Brown-headed Cowbird
Tree Swallow
Steller's Jay
Chipping Sparrow
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Warbling vireo
Mountain Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Pine Siskin
Willow Flycatcher
Common Goldeneye with 7 ducklings
Belted Kingfisher
Spotted Sandpiper
Red-naped Sapsucker
Townsend's Warbler
Western Tanager
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Western Wood-Pewee
Northern Waterthrush (lifer for 3 of the youth)
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Dark-eyed Junco
Pacific Wren
Pine Grosbeaks
Clark's nutcracker
Gray jay
Cassin's Finch
Pileated Woodpecker
Common Raven
Rufous Hummingbird
Hammond's Flycatcher
Hermit Thrush
Varied Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Mountain Bluebird
Song Sparrow

Animals Seen:

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Yellow-pine Chipmunk
Red Squirrel
Snowshoe Hare
Columbian GroundSquirrel

Thanks again guys for the great day!

If you would like to join the Young Birder Program see contact info and list of events HERE


  1. Looks like you had a wonderful day and congratulations on the new blog!

    1. Thanks Q, as you can see bridget especially had fun ;)!

  2. Sounds like you had a great trip and a wonderful experience for the kids.

    1. Thanks John that means a lot! We had so much fun. we all love it there! thanks for the support.

  3. Wow! What a long list of birds you spotted on this outing! Amazing.

    1. Thanks Sandy we were happy but sure would have liked to see a three-toed woodpecker and a grouse of any species but you can't win em all and we have nothing to complain about after our amazing day. cheers

  4. Fantastic blog Mel! Great Manning Park report, looks like everyone had a great time! Seeing the same bear you saw 2 years ago with the scar on his/her nose is also awesome!
    - Isaac

    1. It sure was Isaac wish you had been able to join us ! The poor bear with the scar was attacked by another bear. Grizzlies are now back in Manning Park after a reintroduction program so wonder which species got him. Poor thing.

    2. wow...awesome trip..those bear encounters were awesome !!!!!!..must plan to go there when I get back to BC..cheers from England

  5. Fantastic trip report, we had a great time!! Looking forward to the next trip!

    1. Thanks me too we had a great time thanks for

  6. Fabulous new blog, Mel. Will continue to enjoy the YB reports, photos, and other information. Thanks. George

  7. great post and trip mel it is cute to see the squirrels on bridget!


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