B I R D S & B E A R S O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A
Photo Tour with Shelley Pearson
13-29 May 2023
Led by renowned Australian bird and wildlife photographer, Shelley Pearson, and hosted by acclaimed Canadian bird and nature photographer, David Hemmings, you are in for a truly memorable photography experience in one of Canada's most beautiful and unspoiled regions - the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and Great Bear Rainforest, of British Columbia.
Join us for this incredible opportunity to explore the spectacular wilderness and vast landscape of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of British Columbia. Stretching from the Pacific Coast to the rolling Cariboo Mountains, dotted with forests, hidden lakes, craggy peaks, and extending into sweeping grasslands and golden ranching plains. The area is rich with diverse bird, wildlife and landscape photo opportunities. You'll be remote in the mountains where the only passing traffic will seem to be free-range cattle, wandering moose or wild horses.
Springtime in the Chilcotin region comes alive with many species of resident birds returning to the area to nest. Species include four kinds of woodpeckers including Pileated, Downy and Hairy, as well as Northern Flickers, Red-breasted and Red-naped Sapsuckers.
Other species include Common Loon, Mountain Bluebird, Rufous Hummingbird, Arctic Tern, American White Pelican, Western Tanager, Steller's Jay, Blue Jay, Evening Grosbeak, Common Red Poll, Western Meadowlark, Bohemian Waxwing, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Oregon Juncos, and more.
Evening Grosbeak | David Hemmings
Blue Jay | David Hemmings
Rufous Hummingbird | David Hemmings
Duck species include Lesser Scaup, Buffle Head, Barrows Goldeneye, and more.
Raptor species such as Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Hawk Owls, Great Grey Owls, Northern Pygmy Owls and Great Horned Owls are also found in the area. In addition to the great variety of birds, we have the chance to spot coyotes, moose, red fox, and black bears - and fingers crossed, if we're lucky, a glimpse of aurora borealis in the night sky.
From Bella Coola we board our boat to begin our custom itinerary exploring coastal areas. On this all round adventure we seek out and photograph species such as grizzly bears, black bears, sea lions, seals, dolphins, whales, birds, raptors, coastal wolves, landscapes and waterfalls located in the pristine Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia.
You'll see amazing backdrops with a variety of blue waters, and greens. This is an exclusive adventure for our small group, with a flexible itinerary, ensuring you are out taking photos in the best light and taking advantage of those wildlife opportunities as they happen. Meal times will be flexible to ensure you don't have to rush to get back on the boat missing great photo and video wildlife moments.
We will head out deeper into the estuaries in zodiacs. With our small number of guests on the zodiacs it will allow plenty of space for each person. We will photograph wildlife within river inlets and also by land.
Inquisitive bear cub, British Columbia
Great Bear Rainforest, BC
Grizzly cubs, Great Bear Rainforest
Photographing many bird species.
World class wildlife experience.
Photographing bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Remote lodging in the heart of Cariboo Chilcotin Coast.
Stunning landscapes and nature.
Chance to see aurora borealis.
Fresh wilderness air.
Natural splendour of mountainside rainforest, Vancouver's North Shore.
Grouse Mountain Skyride to the Peak of Vancouver.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park where suspended walkways take you high into the forest canopy.
Small group size 6-7 guests.
Certified and knowledgeable grizzly bear guide.
Two professional photographers for guidance, education, assistance and advice.
Welcome to Vancouver! One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver is surrounded by towering mountains and sparkling ocean. Transfer to downtown accommodation, conveniently located close to harbour, good dining and shopping options.
Today we get our bearings and explore Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. What better way to acclimatise than getting out in the fresh air and enjoying some great views and mountaintop activities.
Situated in West Coast rainforest, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers visitors a unique mix of adventure, history and culture which makes this an immersive experience and a must-see while visiting Vancouver. Originally built in 1889, the award-winning Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of Vancouver’s top attractions. Enjoy the thrill of crossing the 450-foot (137m) swaying bridge, suspended 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River in North Vancouver. The bridge offers splendid views of the river below and the old-growth forest. We venture on to Grouse Mountain, the Peak of Vancouver. Here we'll experience the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, Owl Talks and the World-Famous Lumberjack Show (season start and weather permitting).
Early this morning we depart Vancouver and head north to BC's real-life Wild West, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region.
We will meet our wonderful hosts and transfer to our traditional log cabin accommodation set aside a fresh water glacial lake with stunning snow-peaked mountain views. All meals included during our stay.
We begin five full days of bird photography in the Chilcotin region.
Our guide is very knowledgeable on the movement of birds in the area and has spent many years scouting the hot spots. Our daily schedule will vary with consideration to the hours of daylight, weather, bird and wildlife sightings and activity.
May is prime time for spring bird migration in Canada. Thousands of birds move to and from their nesting and wintering habitats during this time, often stopping over in their favourite places across British Columbia. Songbirds come out in abundance. Water birds flock to the marshes and lakes in the region. Raptors are seen nest building in the trees. There is a marked increase in bird activity and courtship behaviours, and we will have many opportunities to capture images.
We will have exclusive use of the lodge during our stay so we will have the best opportunities at the bird photo stations and hummingbird feeders.
Today we transfer by road, via an incredibly scenic route to Bella Coola - Gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest.
We board our boat for four exciting days exploring coastal areas and estuaries to look for bears and wildlife, allowing for some superb photography opportunities. Keep watch for bears on the shoreline, soaring eagles, a variety of waterfowl and seals, and so much more. Wildflowers and brilliant green sedges fill the estuaries where grizzlies come out to forage.
Our host is a certified grizzly bear guide with extensive local knowledge on bear whereabouts at this time of year. This is an exclusive adventure for our small group, with a flexible itinerary, ensuring you are out taking photos in the best light and taking advantage of those wildlife opportunities as they happen. Meal times will be flexible to ensure you don't have to rush to get back on the boat missing great photo and video wildlife moments.
Boat liveaboard accommodation has small private cabins and shared bathrooms, living area, large sundeck sitting area. We will be boating and anchoring, and going out deeper into the estuaries in the zodiacs.
As hard as it is to say goodbye to our hosts, the birds, the wildlife and this incredible region that will have captured your heart, today it's time to return to Vancouver with full memory cards and some amazing stories that will stay with you forever.
Be sure to take advantage of your last day in Vancouver. Perhaps a bit of souvenir shopping?
We transfer to Vancouver airport in time for our flight home. Tour ends on arrival at your home city.
Full detailed itinerary is included in your final travel documentation package you will receive approximately three weeks before travelling.
Level of fitness required for this tour is easy to moderate. Walking the nature trails and repositioning require easy effort. Boarding and alighting boat at the dock and moving from the larger boat to the zodiac for going close to shore is considered moderate activity with good mobility required.
International economy flights from any Australian capital city to Vancouver return*
Domestic economy flights Vancouver to Chilcotin Country return
All flights 2 x 23kg check-in baggage
All accommodation 14 nights - 4 nights Vancouver, 7 nights log cabin lodge, 3 nights Great Bear Rainforest boat
No single supplement
10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners
All tour transport and airport transfers
All local tours and local expert guides
Taxes and fees
International flights can be upgraded to premium economy or business class where available, for an additional cost. Prices vary, please let us know if you would like to consider this option when booking.
*Travellers residing outside of Australia are welcome to join this tour. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your departure city and payment options available to you.
AUD 16,885 per person (we can accommodate up to two couples sharing double bedding on this tour)
Deposit requirement 40%: AUD 6,754 per person (total deposit for two guests AUD 13,508)
Payment of deposit will secure your place. Once received we will be in touch with your confirmation and receipt, also our Holiday Next Steps detailing what you can expect as we get closer to your departure day.
If you would like to join this incredible photo tour, the mechanics of booking your trip are made easy. Here is a secure link to provide your travel details and reserve your place on the Birds & Bears of BC Photo Tour with Shelley Pearson: