Every year from late April through May, flocks of sandpipers, plovers, Whimbrels, and many other shorebirds pass through the Tofino area. Thousands stop here to feed and rest as they make their impressive journey from South and Central America northward to their Arctic breeding grounds. The protected forests, expansive mudflats, long sandy beaches, and rocky shorelines of this area create the right combination of habitats to draw over 40 species of shorebirds to the area, including the largest migratory concentrations of Whimbrels anywhere in British Columbia and impressive flocks of Western Sandpipers, Dunlin and more. In May 2011, at the height of the migration, we welcomed more than 35,000 birds a day!
Friday May 4 “Shorebirds of the Western Hemisphere”
Special presentation from the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Darwin Café
Ever wonder where the shorebirds go during our winter? What other places they visit on their lengthy migrations? Join special delegates from the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) for a captivating slideshow of migrating shorebirds in South and Central America. Featuring experts from shorebird reserves throughout the Americas, this presentation will provide a glimpse of some of the many landscapes shorebirds traverse on their annual migrations.
Saturday May 5 Birding by Kayak at Grice Bay
With kayak guide and naturalist Andy Murray 8:00am – 12:00pm; COST: $75 (a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Raincoast Education Society and the Tofino Shorebird Festival). Please book through Tofino Sea Kayaking at 250-725-4222. Meet at Tofino Sea Kayaking at 320 Main St., Tofino. This three-hour sea kayaking tour will take you on a journey through the expansive Grice Bay mudlfats of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve to shorebird habitats only accessible by water. Experience this unique birding opportunity along the shores of ancient coastal rainforests of giant Western Red cedars, Sitka Spruce, and Western Hemlocks. Sea kayaking experience is not necessary. You will be in double kayaks, so you can alternate with your partner in paddling and birdwatching!
Saturday May 5 Rocky Intertidal Shorebird Walk at Kwisitis
With Pete Clarkson and Josie Osborne. 9:00am – 12:00pm; Meet at Kwisitis Centre, Pacific Rim Nat’l Park Reserve. No charge, but you must purchase a Park Visitor Pass (available in the parking lot). Join Pete and Josie Join Pete and Josie on a walk through lush rainforests to several rocky islets home to Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, and Rock Sandpipers. Please wear appropriate shoes and bring your daypack with binos, spotting scopes, water, and a snack.
Saturday May 5 Cont’d Anchor Park Shorebird Viewing Station
12:30pm – 2:00 pm Anchor Park located directly across from the intersection of Third and Main Streets, Tofino.
Free of Charge Anchor Park provides a clear view across the Tofino Harbour with its myriad islands and rocky outcroppings. Bring your binoculars and spotting scopes down for an informal session of birding with local naturalist Dan Harrison. This program is great for new and experienced birders. Learn how to identify and count shorebirds, raptors and other waterfowl. Bring your binoculars or spotting scope if you have them - but we have plenty to loan out too.
8:00pm – 9:30pm; Clayoquot Community Theatre, 380 Campbell St., Tofino $10 Per Person Featuring groundbreaking footage from seven winters in the Arctic, People of a Feather takes you through time into the world of Inuit on the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay. Connecting past, present and future is a unique cultural relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters. Recreations of traditional life are juxtaposed with modern life in Sanikiluaq, as both people and eiders face the challenges posed by changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering eastern North America. The eyes of a remote subsistence culture challenge the world to find energy solutions that work with the seasons of our hydrological cycle.
Sunday May 6 Guided Voyage to Cleland Island Seabird Colony
with Warden Pete Clarkson 9:00am – 12:00pm $55 incl. tax per person. Please book through Jamie’s Whaling “ at 1-800-667-9913 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cleland Island Ecological Reserve is the best spot in the region for seabirds, where we often see spectacular Tufted Puffins, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklet, and Black Oystercatchers. This three-hour trip is lead by Cleland Island Warden Pete Clarkson.
Sunday May 6 Building Better Birding Skills on the Tofino Mudflats
With Andy Murray and Adrian Dorst 9:30am – 11:30am; Bottom of Sharp Rd., Tofino (look for the Dolphin Motel). Free of charge This program is great for new and experienced birders as well as anyone interested in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area. Learn how to identify and count geese, ducks, shorebirds, raptors and more on the Tofino Mudflats. Bring your binoculars or spotting scope if you have them - but we have plenty to loan out too. We will be meeting at the parking lot at the end of Sharp Road before walking to the mudflats. Please do not access the mudflats via the Tofino Fish Hatchery. For everybody's enjoyment (but especially for the birds and other wildlife), unleashed dogs are not permitted in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area. Please leave your pets at home.