As much as heading out for an adventure into the wilderness in search of wildlife is fun and exciting, sometimes it is nice to watch wildlife from the comforts of our towns and cities. Luckily for us our urban areas attract a host of species, and urban wildlife watching offers an easy and hassle free way to connect with nature!
Victoria, on the south coast of Vancouver Island, is home to a huge variety of wildlife, and many species can be seen without having to leave the city.
Have a look at these 5 brilliant places to see wildlife in Victoria, British Columbia:
1. Dallas Road
Overlooking the Salish Sea, there is a chance of seeing orca, humpback whale, sea lions, seals, birds of prey (including the fastest animal on the planet, the peregrine falcon) and in the winter a huge number of migratory birds; plus many more species, Dallas Road offers some spectacular wildlife watching just a half an hour walk from downtown. Perfect!
2. Mount Douglas
Whether you hike or drive to the top, or have a leisurely walk around the base. Mount Douglas Park is crammed with wildlife, the tall lush forest attracts birds such as woodpeckers and owls; whilst at the top vultures and red tailed hawks soar. Salmon can be seen in the creek, and black tailed deer feed along the forest trails. The thick forest can feel like the wilderness, and it is easy to forget you are still in the city.
3. Mount Tolmie
As well as great views, a drive to the top of Mount Tolmie has some great wildlife, the area is one of the best spots to see raptors in Victoria . In one afternoon it is not uncommon to see turkey vulture, merlin, Cooper’s hawk, red tailed hawk, bald eagle, osprey and the occasional sharp shinned hawk and peregrine falcon. As well as raptors the area is home to a large number of songbirds and is a good spot in the autumn to see migratory species overhead.
4. Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary
Take a gentle stroll across the boardwalks and along the paths around Swan Lake and you will encounter a host of wildlife. Anna’s hummingbird, bushtits, spotted towhee, barred owls, great blue herons, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, lesser scaup, marsh wrens and red-winged blackbirds are just some of the bird species that can be spotted across the sanctuary. As well as birds, river otter and black tailed deer are frequently seen as well as a number of dragonflies and butterflies. It is amazing to have such a large number of species on a site located right next to a highway!
5. Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is located between downtown Victoria and the ocean, with a number of different areas and walkways; there are a lot of habitats to explore, in a relatively small space. The park is home to reptiles such as lizards, snakes, turtles. A number of migratory waterfowl use the ponds during the winter, and for the summer the area is dominated by great blue herons, who nest in large numbers. The park has resident bald eagles, and is a great spot to see hummingbirds, during the evening barred owls can be heard calling in the forest, and racoons are often seen throughout the park. There are a number of wildflower species, that cover the park during the spring and summer, which in turn attracts a large number of butterflies.
These are just a handful of species and places to see wildlife in Victoria. We are very lucky here to have such a great amount of wildlife right on the doorstep! Do you have any favourite wildlife spots for me to feature? Or any tips for watching wildlife in an urban area?