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Wildlife, bird and whale watching in Canada.

Canada has a wealth of wildlife experiences, including viewing grizzly bears and polar bears, bird watching, whale watching, wolf and moose spotting or diving in one of the spectacular marine parks.

Wildlife watching in the National Parks of Canada

 

Bear watching in Canada
To see bears in their natural environment is one of the biggest thrills anyone visiting Canada on holiday can have, but they are not always easy animals to see. There are a few places however, where the visitor can improve their chances of seeing these magnificent creatures. Churchill , Manitoba is the place to be in late October and early November when the Polar bears gather in large numbers before heading out across the frozen Hudson Bay , but you need to book early, it is very popular! Waterton Lakes Park is crawling with bears, and most of it is only accessible on foot.

Grizzly bear viewing trips to the Knight Inlet in northern British Columbia can also be pre-booked but numbers are limited to this sensitive reserve so you must book in advance. Black bears are more common and if you are lucky you may see one foraging by the roadside, particularly on the Icefields Parkway or even on the roads around Vancouver; early in the morning before they are disturbed by human activity is the best time. It is also reasonably coomon to see bears roaming the meadows of the ski fields, so search out any chairlifts that run in summer and you might get lucky.

Top whale watching spots in Canada.

* Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Numerous locations along the length of the Island (including Victoria ) where you can join excursions to see Orcas and other marine wildlife. Tofino, on the west coast of the Island is popular for viewing Pacific Gray Whales where small numbers reside throughout the summer and early autumn; Humbacks and Orcas are also seen here. In fact the whales can be seen in the Tofino inlet from the shore, or, more excitingly, from sea-kayaks. It is surprisingly common to see Orcas from the Vancouver Island ferry!
* Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill offers great opportunities to see the pure white Beluga whales in Hudson Bay from mid June- late August.
* Tadoussac, Québec. Situated on the upper St. Lawrence Seaway, Tadoussac makes an excellent base from which to go whale watching, and it is possible to see Beluga, Fin, Minke and even the rare Blue whale!
* Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick - Nova Scotia. The Bay of Fundy attracts large concentrations of migrating whales, which come to feed in the plankton rich waters during the summer. Species include Pilot, Finback, Humpback and the rare Right Whale.
* Newfoundland. There are many good locations around the coast of Newfoundland including the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve where excursions are available. It is possible to see whales passing the coast from the land as well as by air and boat trips. It is possible to see up to 20 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

The top ten birding locations in Canada

* George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Vancouver , British Columbia . An area of coastal marsh where more than 240 species have been spotted, and where up to 80,000 Snow geese spend the winter. Other notable species include the Saw-Whet owl, Ospreys, large numbers of Western sandpipers, Red throated Loons, Golden Eagles and Sandhill cranes.
* Churchill, Manitoba. Unique opportunity to see some Arctic specialities including the rare Ross' Gull, Three-toed Woodpecker and Smith's Longspur.
* Point Pelee and Long Point, Ontario. Jutting into Lake Erie from its northwest shore, Point Pelee and Long Point are two of North America 's primary bird migratory locations. Each spring and fall thousands of migrants pass along these two headlands and over 350 species are recorded annually.
* Niagara Falls (surprisingly), Ontario. The Niagara River and falls are acknowledged as one of the best places to watch gulls in the fall and winter. Up to 19 species have been recorded here.
* The Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec. Noted as a shelter for many duck species, migrant birds and other rare creatures including lynx and Snowshoe hares.
* Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba has many easy to reach birding sites. Species include Broadwinged and Cooper's hawks, eagles, geese, ducks and Black-billed cuckoo.
* Machais Seal Island and Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick. Located in the lower Bay of Fundy this area boasts hundreds of species including cranes, herons, eagles, puffins and terns.
* Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland. Largest Atlantic Puffin colony in North America and the second largest colony of Leach's Petrels in the world.
* The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia. Lots of nesting boreal birds and if the wind is blowing in the right direction, sea bird viewing can be excellent with Puffins, Razorbills, Black Legged Kittiwakes and Ruddy Turnstones all present in summer.
* Beaverhill Lake, Alberta. At the intersection of two ‘flyways', this area is ‘alive' with birds during migration. Of special note are the 100,000+ Snow Geese that pass through in spring and fall, along with Sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans.