Young Birder Trip to Pemberton

Young Birders at One Mile Lake in Pemberton - Photo: Melissa Hafting

We had a great day in Pemberton this past weekend. We drove up on a gorgeous sunny day and made our first stop at beautiful One Mile Lake. We admired the strange lily pads growing here. We also watched an Osprey and Turkey Vulture fly overhead and then a Merlin went rip-roaring by!. The Merlin was in hot pursuit of a dragonfly. The Merlin won... it perched above us as it ate the head off of one dragonfly after another. It was nice to see this little falcon so close. 

Merlin in Pemberton - Photo: Sasha Fairbairn

We also got some nice views of Warbling and Red-eyed Vireo here but other than that pretty quiet. We admired the glacial blue look of the creek here.

Bridget walking along the boardwalk at One Mile Lake - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Admiring the glacial creek in Pemberton - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Next we were off to Mount Currie to look for Alder Flycatcher. The last reports came from here in 2017. Unfortunately we didn't hear any here but did find a Gray Catbird. We drove up to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park but it was so crowded with tour buses and people we could not get a parking spot and left. With that amount of people we figured we wouldn't see much birds anyways.

We drove to Pemberton Meadows and found a family of 8 Kestrels flying near us as we ate lunch. We also found some Willow Flycatchers, Lazuli Buntings, Western Kingbirds and Eastern Kingbirds. While we were eating lunch a man stopped his car and let us know there is a large bear that lived where we were eating and suggested we move along, which we did. On the forest service roads we saw several signs saying "You are in Grizzly Bear Country" and that it was illegal to shoot them. We did not see a Grizzly but did run into a beautiful Black Bear that gave us great views. 

Black Bear in Pemberton - Photo: Bridget Spencer

On South Creek Forest Service Rd we found a flock of warblers.We got to see American Redstarts in all different plumages and sexes. We also had a Nashville Warbler that Bridget found and a MacGillivray's that Katya found. The most abundant warbler was by far Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. We photographed a silent Least Flycatcher that was actively flycatching. We saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker, Black-capped Chickadees, Lazuli Buntings, fighting Eastern Kingbirds, Vaux's Swifts, Western Kingbirds, Hairy and Downy Woodpecker and Veery. For July it was a lot of activity!. We unfortunately did not find any breeding Northern Waterthrushes that were recently found on the breeding bird surveys.

Nashville Warbler in Pemberton - Photo: Bridget Spencer

Moulting Male American Redstart in Pemberton - Photo: Bridget Spencer

Least Flycatcher in Pemberton - Photo: Bridget Spencer

We had fun watching dozens and dozens of paragliders flying high over Pemberton Meadows and landing on the road near to us. Then we went to Fulton Marsh after this and found a Alder/Willow that never called nor answered to playback. Here we got great looks at several Veery; which was a lifer for Sasha. We also had a Steller's Jay, Cedar Waxwings, a beautiful Western Tanager and great looks again at another Red-eyed Vireo. On our way out after driving Airport road we saw a Pileated Woodpecker and Great Blue Heron fly over the road. Unfortunately the surprise I had planned for the youth had flown off, as birds do, but we still had a great time in the Pemberton area.

We stopped at Whytecliff Park on our way home but could not find any Surfbirds. We did see some Black Turnstones though. What really caught our attention was the colour of the sea!. It looked like the sea was full of blood as the water was full of red tide. Katya saw a Pygmy-Owl perched on a tree near the highway in West Van but none of the rest of us were able to see it, as I could not stop on the highway.

"A sea of red" - Red tide (algae bloom) in West Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Another nice trip and day out with the young birders. We finished the evening with lots of laughs having dinner at Five Guys in West Van before traveling back home to Vancouver.

See you next in Tofino!

Oh and if you have not heard young birder Liron Gertsman got his stunning photo of a Red-throated Loon taken in Anchorage, AK into the top 100 Audubon photo awards. You can see his and all images HERE


  1. Sounds like Another great trip. Must have just missed you. I stopped at a couple spots in Pemberton meadows and One Mile Lake on the way back from a climbing trip up off the Hurley FSR that day Things were pretty quiet down in the valley but I swear there was a Veery big convention up around treeline. There had to be dozens of them. ( sorry for the bad pun)

    1. thanks so much ken! that is a fun road and i like going on it to do a beautiful hike up semaphore lakes. in retrospect should have taken the kids up there as the valley as you said was quiet but we did find a lot of veeries :) thanks again


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Dowitcher Identification


Hawk Identification Tips from every angle (Sharpie vs Cooper and Red-tailed Subspecies)

*UPDATED* The First Ever Black Birders Week May 31-June 5th

Smith Island Tufted Puffins Trip!