The other day we had a ‘birder’ on board.

Usually most people are focused on the feeding gray whales and humpback whales we see on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Or the Steller’s sea lions, harbour seals and sea otters we often come across.

Not this gentleman ! He was quietly excited, and took notes in a little booklet. A total of 254 species of birds are known to occur in Pacific Rim National Park, the Broken Group Islands and adjacent areas. (Ucluelet is right in the middle of these parks). We have a number of common resident birds like Bald Eagles, as well as accidentals (like the brown pelican I mentioned last post).

This man knew his birds ! He was able to quickly identify some Glaucous-Winged Gulls and little Marbled Murrelets.  Our guest was most excited to see a Rhinoceros Auklet, while the rest of the crew were watching sea otters in the kelp.

This has inspired me to pull out the bird books more often ! I need to learn more about the avifauna of Vancouver Island ! Until the other day, I had no idea how many species lived here. The American Black Oystercatchers with their bright orange beaks, and Sooty Shearwaters who are so agile soaring with wingtips just above the waves will always be my favourites though.

I think my trips aboard the Nootka Princess with Cameron Ocean Adventures just got more interesting, now that I am looking at feathers in addition to fur and fins !