Western Sandpipers in Flight. Photo Adrian Dorst

Tofino Shorebird Festival

The 17th Annual Tofino Shorebird Festival will be held on May 2-4, 2014.

Click here for a pdf schedule of events.

FRIDAY, MAY 2

17TH ANNUAL TOFINO SHOREBIRD FESTIVAL OPENING  RECEPTION & GUEST PRESENTATION
SHOREBIRDS OF THE WEST COAST : LOCALS AND TOURISTS

WITH AVIAN BIOLOGIST MARK MAFTEI
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Appetizers and opening reception
7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Presentation
At Darwin’s Café in the Tofino Botanical Gardens
$10 suggested donation

From sandy beaches to rocky reefs to tidal mudflats, the diverse habitats found along the west coast of Vancouver Island are home to a number of familiar shorebirds year-round. Every spring and fall, these hardy locals are joined by vast flocks of migratory species that use critical stopover sites like the Tofino Mudflats to rest and refuel on their lengthy journeys. This talk will focus on the behavior and ecology of resident and migrating shorebirds on the West Coast.

SATURDAY, MAY 3

BIRDING BY KAYAK ON THE ARAKUN FLATS
WITH KAYAK GUIDE AND NATURALIST ANDY MURRAY

8:30am-12:30pm
Meet at Tofino Sea Kayaking at 320 Main St., Tofino.
$75 incl. Tax per person - a portion of proceeds are donated to the RES and the Tofino Shorebird Festival.
Please book through Tofino Sea Kayaking at 250-725-4222.

This four-hour sea kayaking tour will take you on a journey to the expansive Arakun mudlfats at the base of Meares Island to experience shorebird habitats only accessible by water. This is a unique birding opportunity to paddle with naturalist Andy Murray in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area along the shores of ancient coastal rainforests of giant Western Redcedars, 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!

LUNCH & ART SHOW
FEATURING THE LINO-CUT BLOCK PRINTS OF ALLISON TREMAIN

12:00pm-3:00pm
At Jamie’s Rainforest Inn Restaurant and Lounge, 1258 Pacific Rim Hwy.

Come meet local artist Allison Tremain, peruse her lino-cut block prints of west coast birds, and grab a bite to eat at Jamie’s Restaurant and Lounge.

BUILDING BETTER BIRDING SKILLS ON THE TOFINO MUDFLATS
WITH ANDY MURRAY AND ADRIAN DORST

3:00pm-5:00pm
Meet at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn, 1258 Pacific Rim Hwy. (formerly Clayoquot Orca Lodge)
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. For everybody’s enjoyment (but especially for the birds and other wildlife), unleashed dogs are not permitted in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area, so please leave your pets at home.

THE JUAN DE FUCA EDDY – A CRITICAL STOPOVER SITE FOR MIGRATING SABINE’S GULLS
WITH AVIAN BIOLOGIST SHANTI DAVIS

7:30pm-8:30pm
At Darwin’s Café in the Tofino Botanical Gardens
$5 suggested donation

Sabine’s gulls undertake spectacular long distance migrations, travelling more than 30,000 km annually from the circumpolar Arctic to wintering areas in the southern hemisphere. Tracks of Sabine’s gulls from a breeding colony in the Canadian High Arctic reveal that the Juan de Fuca Eddy off the west coast of Vancouver Island is the most important stopover site used by these remarkable birds during both their north and southbound migration.

SUNDAY, MAY 4

GUIDED VOYAGE TO CLELAND ISLAND SEABIRD COLONY
WITH CLELAND ISLAND ECOLOGICAL RESERVE WARDEN PETE CLARKSON

10:00am-1:00pm
$65 incl. Tax per person.
Please book through Jamie’s Whaling, Tofino (606 Campbell St) at 1-800-667-9913 or info@jamies.com.

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 Ecological Reserve Warden Pete Clarkson.


About the Festival:

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. The threatened Red Knot is also a regular visitor each spring, as well as Rock Sandpiper in winter. In 2010, local bird expert Adrian Dorst listed at least 30 species of shorebirds!

The Tofino Shorebird Festival celebrates this impressive annual migration with a series of educational birding activties throughout the region. We draw on local and visiting experts to participate in the festival, offering guest lectures, birding workshops and much more! This is a great opportunity to experience the largest wildlife migration in the region, learn about these impressive birds, and understand why Tofino is one of the very best places in western Canada for bird watching.

A huge thank you to our festival partners! In alphabetical order: Darwin’s Café; District of Tofino; Jamie’s Whaling Station and Rainforest Inn; Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada; Tofino Botanical Gardens; Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area; Tofino Sea Kayaking; Tofino Time; Tourism Tofino; Wickaninnish Inn.