Semipalmated Sandpiper Photo: Jess Findlay

Tofino Shorebird Festival

19th ANNUAL
TOFINO SHOREBIRD FESTIVAL
April 29 - May 1, 2016

 

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 the region 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 past years, 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 activities throughout the region. We draw on local and visiting experts to participate in the festival, offering guest lectures, birding workshops, boat trips 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: District of Tofino; Jamie’s Whaling Station and Rainforest Inn; Long Beach Lodge Resort; Ocean Outfitters; Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada; Tofino Botanical Gardens; Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area; Tofino Sea Kayaking; Tofino Time; Tourism Tofino; Wickaninnish Inn.


2016 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

PDF - 2016 Schedule of Events
PDF - 2016 Festival Poster
PDF - 2016 Festival Tidetable
 


Friday April 29th, 2016


OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION AND LECTURE PRESENTATION
With Dr. Mark Drever – shorebird biologist with Environment Canada
Friday, April 29th
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Jamie’s Restaurant and Lounge @ Jamie’s Rainforest Inn (1258 Pacific Rim Hwy)
$10 admission includes light snacks, music, and lecture ticket

We will kick off the 19th annual Tofino Shorebird Festival at Jamie’s Restaurant and Lounge. Meet other shorebird enthusiasts and enjoy a delicious spread of snack platters, and a selection of craft beer from Tofino Brewery! Full restaurant service and $5 Tofino Brewery pints will be available all night long! Featuring special musical guest (and seabird biologist) Jill Robinson!

Evening Lecture: Dr. Mark Drever - Monitoring northward migration of shorebirds in British Columbia
Shorebird migration remains one of the great ornithological spectacles in North America.  The Canadian Wildlife Service monitors this migration at a set of key sites in British Columbia to assess the health of shorebird populations.  This talk will review monitoring efforts over the past 25 years, and provide an overview of conservation concerns for shorebirds in British Columbia.


Saturday April 30th, 2016


BIRDER’S BREAKFAST
With Chef Ian Riddick
Long Beach Lodge Great Room (1441 Pacific Rim Highway)
Saturday, April 30th
7:30 am – 11:30 am
Special Birdie Feature Menu & Regular Breakfast Menu available

Take advantage of all Tofino has to offer by starting your day with breakfast at the spectacular Long Beach Lodge Resort. Chef Riddick has prepared a special “Birder’s Breakfast” for this year’s Shorebird Festival – fuel up for a big day of events with a delicious menu featuring fresh and local ingredients while taking in one of the most spectacular views in Tofino overlooking magnificent  Cox Bay and crashing waves of the Pacific. Grab a window seat and enjoy flocks of sanderlings, western sandpipers and semipalmated plovers on the beach below!

See the Menu here!


BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
With nature photographer Jess Findlay

Long Beach Lodge Function Room and Cox Bay (1441 Pacific Rim Highway)
Saturday, April 30th
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Free!

We'll study the basics of bird photography while exploring the beautiful beaches of Tofino! Learn how to approach birds, setup your camera, work with different types of lighting and get the best angle. This will also be a great opportunity to watch and learn about shorebird behaviour. All levels of photographers are welcome – bring your own camera gear! And don’t forget to take advantage of the Birder’s Breakfast in the Great Room right upstairs before the talk!


SHOREBIRD FUN FOR KIDS!
With biologist Ariane Batic
Ecolodge @ Tofino Botanical Gardens
Saturday, April 30th
10:00 am – 11:30 am
Free!

This is a unique birding opportunity for kids! Biologist Ariane Batic will lead participants on a mud flats birding tour at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.


GUIDED VOYAGE TO CLELAND ISLAND SEABIRD COLONY
Jamie’s Whaling Station (606 Campbell St)
Saturday, April 30th
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
$75 + taxes
Guided by Jill Robinson

Join us aboard the M.V. Lady Selkirk for a unique trip through some of the most ecologically important and spectacular habitats on the west coast. This trip leaves Tofino and explores the mudflats of Tofino Inlet in search of shorebirds before heading offshore to the Cleland Island Ecological Reserve, one of the premier sites in Clayoquot Sound for seabirds. Past trips have enjoyed great looks at spectacular Tufted Puffins, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklet, and Black Oystercatchers, as well as a variety of other species. Whales, seals, sea lions and sea otters can also be seen in this area. This three-hour trip will be lead by an experienced guide who can help with spotting and identification. This is an unparalleled opportunity to bird two unique habitats from the comfort of a large and stable vessel!

Please book through Jamie’s Whaling, Tofino at 1-800-667-9913 or info@jamies.com.


BIRDING BY KAYAK
With kayak guide and naturalist Andy Murray
Tofino Sea Kayaking (320 Main St)
Saturday, April 30th
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
$75 incl. tax - a portion of proceeds are donated to the Tofino Shorebird Festival

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 extensive areas of prime shorebird habitat only accessible by water. This is a truly unique birding opportunity! Paddle with naturalist Andy Murray in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area along the shores of ancient coastal rainforests of giant western red cedars, sitka spruce, and western hemlocks. Sea kayaking experience is not necessary in these calm and protected waters. You will be in double kayaks, so you can take turns paddling and bird watching!

Please book through Tofino Sea Kayaking at 250-725-4222.


PELAGIC TRIP TO THE CONTINENTAL SHELF BREAK
Ocean Outfitters Ltd. (368 Main Street)
Saturday, April 30th
7:00 am (depart dock) – 4:00 pm (approximately 9 hours)
$220 per person, 12 seats available
Guided by Daniel Donneke

 

This trip is an all-day excursion to some of the offshore banks and canyons in search of albatrosses, shearwaters, storm-petrels and other pelagic birds. Exact route to be determined based on local weather, fishing activity, and up-to-date reconnaissance. Our goal is to bird out to, and then along, the continental shelf edge near one of the large offshore canyons about 35 miles off the coast.

Previous years have turned up some amazing birds and marine mammals and this is a one-of-a-kind experience and a unique opportunity to explore the pelagic waters off of Vancouver Island. Early May is a transition period when wintering species begin to move out and summer migrants arrive in these water. Highlights of past trips include: laysan Albatross, Sabine’s gull, Arctic tern, short-tailed, sooty, and flesh-footed shearwater, fork-tailed storm petrel, large flocks of both red and red-necked phalaropes, and many more! Marine mammals are also commonly encountered and previous trips have enjoyed excellent views of grey and humpbacked whale, orca, Risso’s dolphin, and more. Rare and unusual species are always possible, and we will come prepared with chum and do our best to draw in something spectacular!

Space is limited to 12 people, and seats are first-come, first-serve. Cost is $220 per person. Please book through Ocean Outfitters at 1-877-906-2326 or ocean@oceanoutfitters.bc.ca. The trip is weather dependent. In the event of cancellation, there will be a 100% refund. There is no refund for no-shows.


BIRDING 101 - GET YOUR BEAK WET!
With Dr Barbara Beasley

Jamie’s Restaurant and Lounge @ Jamie’s Rainforest Inn (1258 Pacific Rim Hwy)
Saturday, April 30th
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Free!

This two-part event will begin with an informal indoor introduction to some key points to help you identify and recognize the common shorebird species you can expect to see around Tofino in the spring. Identifying shorebirds can seem daunting at first, but becoming familiar with a few basic features is a sure-fire way to take your birding to the next level. Drop in and brush up on your skills before heading into the field.


BIRDING 201 – GET YOUR FEET WET!
With Barbara Beasley and Adrian Dorst
Mudflats behind Jamie’s Rainforest Inn (meet in front of the Inn, 1258 Pacific Rim Hwy)
Saturday, April 30th
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free!

Immediately following the Birding 101 workshop, the Birding 201 field session will put your skills to use in the field. The mudflats behind Jaimie's Rainforest Inn offer some of the best and most accessible shorebird habitat in Tofino, and several expert birders will be on hand to help you make the most of the best time of day for watching shorebirds - the rising tide when birds are pushing up towards the upper mudflats for a better view (high of 2.9 m @ 8:31 pm). This is a great event for both new and experienced birders, as well as anyone interested in the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area. Simply put, this is some of the best shorebirding in BC!

Bring your binoculars or spotting scope if you have them, or else we will have a few to share. 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. Boots are recommended, as it can be a little wet!

Stick around after birding and enjoy dinner and a drink at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn! A full dinner menu will be available, with craft beers from Tofino Brewery on tap. Our evening presentation starts right here at 7:00 pm, so sit back and relax!


EVENING RECAP & LECTURE PRESENTATION
With Mark Maftei – biologist with the High Arctic Gull Research Group and Environment Canada
Saturday, April 30th
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Jamie’s Restaurant and Lounge @ Jamie’s Rainforest Inn (1258 Pacific Rim Hwy)
$5 admission

We will start the evening with dinner and a drink while we recap the highlights of the day, and start the 2016 Shorebird Fest species list!


Sunday, May 1st, 2015


BIRDER’S BREAKFAST with Chef Ian Riddick
Long Beach Lodge Great Room (1441 Pacific Rim Highway)
Sunday, May 1st
7:30 am – 11:30 am
Special Birdie Feature Menu & Regular Breakfast Menu available

Take advantage of all Tofino has to offer by starting your day with breakfast at the spectacular Long Beach Lodge Resort. Chef Riddick has prepared a special “Birder’s Breakfast” for this year’s Shorebird Festival – fuel up for a big day of events with a delicious menu featuring fresh and local ingredients while taking in one of the most spectacular views in Tofino overlooking magnificent  Cox Bay and crashing waves of the Pacific. Grab a window seat and enjoy flocks of sanderlings, western sandpipers and semipalmated plovers on the beach below!

See the Menu here!


SHOREBIRDS IN PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: RESEARCH, MANAGEMENT, AND CONSERVATION
W
ith Sarah Tyne (Resource Management Officer, Parks Canada)
Long Beach Lodge Function Room and Cox Bay (1441 Pacific Rim Highway)
Sunday, May 1st
9:30 am – 11:30 pm
Free!

Pacific Rim National Park includes some of the most extensive (and popular) stretches of sandy beaches in BC., which thousands of shorebirds also rely on to forage and rest during migration. This overlap results in both conflict and opportunity. Come and learn about recent Parks Canada research programs on shorebirds, and also how management decisions affect both people and birds in this unique area. An introductory presentation at the Long Beach Lodge will be followed by a shorebirding walk along Cox Bay, one of Tofino’s most popular, and beautiful, beaches. Cox Bay hosts large numbers of sanderling, western sandpipers and semipalmated plovers.


GUIDED VOYAGE TO CLELAND ISLAND SEABIRD COLONY
Jamie’s Whaling Station (606 Campbell St)
Sunday, May 1st
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
$75 + taxes
Guided by Daniel Donneke

Join us aboard the M.V. Lady Selkirk for a unique trip through some of the most ecologically important and spectacular habitats on the west coast. This trip leaves Tofino and explores the mudflats of Tofino Inlet for shorebirds before heading offshore to the Cleland Island Ecological Reserve, one of the premier sites in Clayoquot Sound for seabirds. Past trips have enjoyed great looks at spectacular Tufted Puffins, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklet, and Black Oystercatchers, as well as a variety of other species. Whales, seals, sea lions and sea otters can also be seen in this area. This three-hour trip will be lead by an experienced guide who can help with spotting and identification. This is an unparalleled opportunity to bird two unique habitats from the comfort of a large and stable vessel.

Please book through Jamie’s Whaling, Tofino at 1-800-667-9913 or info@jamies.com.


PELAGIC TRIP TO THE CONTINENTAL SHELF BREAK
Ocean Outfitters Ltd. (368 Main Street)
Sunday, May 1st
7:00 am (depart dock) – 4:00 pm (approximately 9 hours)
$220 per person, 12 seats available
Guided by Mark Maftei

This trip will be an all-day excursion to some of the offshore banks and canyons in search of albatrosses, shearwaters, storm-petrels and other pelagic birds. Exact route to be determined based on local weather, fishing activity, and up-to-date reconnaissance. Our goal is to bird out to, and then along, the continental shelf edge near one of the large offshore canyons about 35 miles off the coast.

Previous years have turned up some amazing birds and marine mammals and this is a one-of-a-kind experience and a unique opportunity to explore the pelagic waters off of Vancouver Island. Early May is the transition when wintering species begin to move out and summer migrants arrive in these water. Highlights of past trips include Laysan Albatross, Sabine’s gull, Arctic tern, short-tailed, sooty, and flesh-footed shearwater, fork-tailed storm petrel, large flocks of both red and red-necked phalaropes, and many more! Marine mammals are also commonly encountered and previous trips have enjoyed excellent views of grey and humpbacked whale, orca, Risso’s dolphin, and more. Other albatrosses and rarer shearwaters are always a possibility, but never a guarantee, but we will come prepared with chum and do our best to draw in something spectacular!

Space is limited to 12 people, and seats are first-come, first-serve. Cost is $220 per person. Please book through Ocean Outfitters at 1-877-906-2326 or ocean@oceanoutfitters.bc.ca. The trip is weather dependent. In the event of cancellation, there will be a 100% refund. There is no refund for no-shows.


* Schedule is subject to minor changes