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Winter home of the Snow Geese and one of Canada's top birdwatching sites.
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Exploring Our Trails

DISCLAIMER: These are nature trails and are made of the native materials present on site. They are designed to provide basic access for slow pedestrian walking and bird-watching through habitats critical to the birds. Visitors need to watch their footing and look out for irregularities in the natural terrain. Watch for raised roots, for example, when exploring treed dykes, and be aware that right after bad weather, there is a lot of puddles as native soils do not drain quickly. Seasonally, a wide variety of conditions can occur on the trails so wear good footwear, and use our trails at your own risk.

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Did You Know?

Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroat, and Spotted Towhee are some of our most abundant nesting songbird species every summer. Shorebird watching in late summer can be either very exciting with lots of species, OR very disappointing if a Peregrine Falcon has just finished swooping low over all the ponds and has chased everything away. The most likely time to see shorebirds in our outer ponds are when the tides are high outside the dykes, as the natural tidal mudflat feeding areas are covered up and they come into our ponds instead (where the peregrine finds them).

Our nesting Sandhill Crane pair is usually less agressive to other visiting cranes in the fall and we often see a dozen or so extras starting to drop by and visit our pair in August and early September. Even more are present around Thanksgiving, as by then there are usually up to 60 cranes foraging and roosting in fields all throughout the Delta area. By winter, the flock has reduced down to about 10 birds. By early spring, territorial challenges are common, as only one pair can nest here. (They need lost of space!). Our nesting pair is usually sitting on eggs by late April, with young hatching just over a month later.

We recorded 46 active Barn Swallow nests in the Sanctuary in 2020. Some nests were used to raise a second brood. Barn Swallows are protected and listed as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act. Every summer, remember to keep at least 2 m from their nests so that they can feed their young to the flying stage. Visitors may recall that a very old bird blind along the seaward dyke was removed in late 2019, and a new structure built nearby. As the old blind was getting structurally unsound, but a very popular spot for nesting Barn Swallows, when it was removed, the nearby replacement structure was designed for the swallows and access was not provided for people. By replicating some of the structural features such as rough-cut cedar beams and siding, we hoped Barn Swallows would regard it as a replacement for the old blind. In 2020 this did actually work! There were swallows present all summer and at least 7 active nests!

Sites To Visit

A two-storey (10 m high) observation tower is located in the northwestern corner and provides an excellent view of the shallow ponds, the intertidal marshes of the Fraser River estuary outside the dykes, the ocean (Strait of Georgia) and landmarks in the Vancouver area.

Another viewing area with wheelchair access is only 15 minutes walk from the entrance gate, and overlooks the marshy islands and ponds of the south half of the Sanctuary.

There are several small buildings along the trails. These are "bird blinds" or "hides" and are designed with small slat-like windows so that visitors can view the birds outside without disturbing the birds.

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