Semipalmated Sandpiper Photo: Jess Findlay

Tofino Shorebird Festival

The 21st Annual Tofino Shorebird Festival
May 4 - 6, 2018

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; T'ashii Paddle School; Tofino Time; Tourism Tofino; Wickaninnish Inn.


2018 Schedule of Events:

FRIDAY MAY 4th

Opening Night Talk
with Dr. Mark Mallory
Doors at 6:00 pm, Talk at 7:00 at Jamie's Rainforest Inn
By Donation ($10 suggested) - Appetizers included!
 
What are the greatest threats to shorebirds and the coastal environments they live in? How do we assess these threats and interpret population trends? Can we predict the indirect effects humans could have on these habitats and the wildlife they support? Dr. Mark Mallory, Canada Research Chair in Coastal Wetland Ecosystems, is trying to answer these and other questions—and help protect and preserve coastal areas in the process. Drawing on his decades of work and experience in Canada's Arctic, Mark will discuss the conservation concerns facing many shorebirds from an ecological perspective.  
 
Doors at 6:00, full menu and bar service available. Talk at 7:00

SATURDAY MAY 5th

Birder's Breakfast
wih Chef Ian Riddick
7:30am - 9:00am, at Long Beach Lodge Great Room
Menu Prices

Take advantage of all Tofino has to offer by starting your day with breakfast at the spectacular Long Beach Lodge Resort. Back by popular demand, Chef Riddick has prepared a special “birders breakfast” for this year’s Shorebird Festival – fuel up for a big day of events while enjoying the crashing waves of Cox Bay and the sanderlings feeding on the beach.

 
Offshore Birding
Pelagic boat trips with Ocean Outfitters
7:30am - 4:30pm
$220 per person

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 recon of where birds seem to be concentrating. Our goal is to bird out to, and then along, the 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. Highlights of past trips include: 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 several species of albatrosses. This is a trip specifically designed around finding seabirds, led by seabird scientists, and is not a pleasure cruise.

Space is limited to 12 people, and seats are first-come, first-serve. Cost is $220 per person. 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. No refund for no-shows.

Shorebird Print Making Workshop
with contemporary artist Dan Law
9:00am - 1:00pm, at Long Beach Lodge Resort

This is a drop-in event­. Come when you wish, stay as long as you like!
$10 per wood cut, free for kids. 

Join artist Dan Law for a shorebird inspired print making workshop! Dan will provide two, 15-minute instructional sessions (at 9am and 11am) for those interested in learning the art of print making. Otherwise, materials and guidance will be provided throughout the session. Participants will be able to take home a unique woodcut print!

Shorebird Interpretation Hike
with Parks Canada
9:30am - 12:00pm, Grice Bay
FREE!
 
Join experienced Parks Canada guides for a birding hike around Grice Bay. Binoculars recommended. Grice Bay is a local hotspot for migrating shorebirds, and this hike (liesurely) is timed to coincide with the ideal tide to permit close observation of feeding shorebirds.
 

Guided Shorebird Beach Walk
with Parks Canada
12:30pm  - 4:00pm, Combers Beach Parking Lot to Greenpoint Campground.
FREE!

Join experienced Parks Canada guides for a birding hike. Binoculars recommended. This hike (moderate pace on mostly level ground) will cover some of the prime beach habitat used by migrating shorebirds. Enjoy the spectacular scenery along one of the region's most dynamic beaches and bird along the way with Ian Cruickshank - Parks Canada interpreter, bird biologist, and birder extraordinaire.
 
Shorebirding by Dugout Canoe
with T'ashii Paddle School
2:00pm - 6:00pm
$89 per person
 

T’ashii Paddle School is partnering with Raincoast Education Society for this once-a-year special tour in a traditional dugout cedar canoe!
One of the most unique experiences in Tofino, join a Nuu-chah nulth guide for a traditional paddle in a handcrafted cedar canoe up Lemmens Inlet to the Arakun Islands and mudflat area to explore the mudflats at high tide – a perfect way to get up close to shorebirds foraging during their annual migration north. This trip is the ONLY way to access the Arakun and Ducking mudflats, areas supporting the highest densities of migrating shorebirds. Dugout cedar canoes are a traditional form of transportation that has been used on the west coast of Vancouver Island for thousands of years, making this a special way to learn about local indigenous history and rich culture along the way! A bird guide will also accompany the trip to enhance your experience and knowledge of birds in the area. 

Space is limited to 8 people, and seats are first-come, first-serve. Please book online, or by calling T'ashii Paddle School at 250-266-3787.

Cleland Island Boat Trip
with Jamie's Whaling Station
12:30 - 3:30pm
$79 per person
 

Join us aboard the M.V. Chinook Princess to explore the inlets for shorebirds and head offshore to the Cleland Island Ecological Reserve, one of the premier sites in Clayoquot Sound for seabirds. Past trips have enjoyed great looks at Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Black Oystercatchers, Tufted Puffins, and 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.

The 50' M.V. Chinook Princess holds 33 passengers and is equipped with a washroom, snack bar, inside heated seating, and outdoor viewing decks. Please book through Jamie’s Whaling Station at 1-800-667-9913 or online.

Evening Presentation
with RES, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Parks Canada
Doors at 6:00pm, Talk at 7:00, at Jamie's Rainforest Inn
By Donation ($10 suggested)
 
RES, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Parks Canada are partnering together to gain a better understanding of bird migration through Clayoquot Sound. In this presentation, they will describe a new and exciting joint research project aimed at tracking individual shorebirds to learn more about how they use habitat in and around Tofino. Doors at 6:00, Talk starts at 7:00. Come early, order a meal and a pint of local beer and setlle in before the talk!
 
 

SUNDAY MAY 6th

Birder's Breakfast
wih Chef Ian Riddick
7:30am - 9:00am, at Long Beach Lodge Great Room
Menu Prices

Take advantage of all Tofino has to offer by starting your day with breakfast at the spectacular Long Beach Lodge Resort. Back by popular demand, Chef Riddick has prepared a special “birders breakfast” for this year’s Shorebird Festival – fuel up for a big day of events while enjoying the crashing waves of Cox Bay and the sanderlings feeding on the beach.

Offshore Birding
Pelagic boat trips with Ocean Outfitters
7:30am - 4:30pm
$220 per person

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 recon of where birds seem to be concentrating. Our goal is to bird out to, and then along, the 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. Highlights of past trips include 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 several species of albatrosses. This is a trip specifically designed around finding seabirds, led by seabird scientists, and is not a pleasure cruise.

Space is limited to 12 people, and seats are first-come, first-serve. Cost is $220 per person. 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. No refund for no-shows.

Shorebirding Beach Hike
with Long Beach Nature Tours
9:30 -12:30
$30 per person
 
Join local guides Liam from Long Beach Nature Tours and Ian from Park Canada for an interpretive birding hike along the shoreline of Wickaninnish Beach as well as some of the forest trails within PRNPR. This hike (moderate) will cover the  Wickaninnish sand dunes, the South Beach trail, Nuu-chan-nulth trail, and the Spruce Bog trail - an opportunity to explore mulitple unique coastal ecosystems and see different a variety of bird species, including shorebirds.
$30 per person. Book through Long Beach Nature Tours at 1.250.725.3320 or info@longbeachnaturetours.com.
 
Cleland Island Boat Trip
with Jamie's Whaling Station
8:30am  - 11:00am
$79 per person
 

Join us aboard the M.V. Chinook Princess to explore the inlets for shorebirds and head offshore to the Cleland Island Ecological Reserve, one of the premier sites in Clayoquot Sound for seabirds. Past trips have enjoyed great looks at Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Black Oystercatchers, Tufted Puffins, and 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.

The 50' M.V. Chinook Princess holds 33 passengers and is equipped with a washroom, snack bar, inside heated seating, and outdoor viewing decks. Please book through Jamie’s Whaling Station at 1-800-667-9913 or online.


This festival is supported by:

 

 

2016 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.