So much to see at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Finally, after many attempts, we had found some time to visit the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta. And we were so lucky with the weather. Though it was quite cold, the sun and the excitement to see so many birds kept us warm.

While walking along the many beautiful paths, we encountered so many ducks in and out of the water, heard a lot of birds singing, saw some of them, too, and discovered some sandhill cranes hiding in the marsh.

One of the many amazing moments was when red-breasted nuthatches, black-capped chickadees and even the larger red-winged blackbirds ate some bird seeds right out of our hands.

After we had seen sandhill cranes hiding in the grass, we were pleasantly surprised to see them wade through the water and come out of it right in front of us. That was such an amazing experience to see those large birds up close.

And to top all this, we saw a flock of what seemed to be several hundreds of lesser snow geese fly by and land in the marshlands a bit further away. That was such an impressive sight!

We had a fantastic day, and we will definitely be back – hopefully next spring when we might get to see the ducklings.

A great afternoon at the Mountain View Wildlife Conservation Centre

Together with Leanne and Susannah we had booked a guided educational tour at the Mountain View Wildlife Conservation Centre in Langley – the only way to have a look at all those animals there -, and today was the day to finally take that tour.
This centre has so-called ‘breeding and return’ programmes for Northern Spotted Owls, Vancouver Island marmots and Sandhill cranes, which means that after successful breeding they try to return those animals to their natural habitats.

The funny thing was, that once there, we were already greeted by one of its inhabitants – a little male Sandhill Crane chick which was really curious and absolutely not shy to visitors. Later we also met its parents which had another two eggs in their nest. So some brothers or sisters for the little chick are in the making…

On our tour we saw a lot of birds, among them a peacock, a blue-and-yellow Macaw and a West Indian Whistling Duck, as well as some Vicunas, a serval at feeding time and two Mountain Tapirs which looked a bit like bears and were really cute.

The highlight for me, however, was seeing the Vancouver Island marmots. They are very shy, but we were so lucky to actually see two juveniles, and I even got one of them captured in a picture. Yay! That really made my day as I absolutely love those marmots.
Vancouver Island marmots, as the name says, naturally live on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada, and are a critically endangered species. That’s why it is so important to care for them.
By the way, did you know that Mukmuk, the ‘sidekick’ to the three official mascots Quatchi, Miga and Sumi for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver represents this species? And, of course, we do have some of those cute Mukmuks sitting at home. Life-sized.

After this great tour we headed towards Fort Langley National Historic Site which had been a former trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company and is generally referred to as ‘British Columbia’s birthplace’.

All in all, a great afternoon in even greater company!