Birding Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary

When I used to live in Victoria Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary was one of the places that I birded regularly. It’s got a wide range of habitat (lake, cattails, shrubs, older forest, open fields) which usually produces a variety of birds. A trail loops around the lake and it can be completed with a minimum of effort and time.

Floating Boardwalk
Floating boardwalk at Swan Lake, Victoria, British Columbia.

Swan Lake is a great place for kids as well – they’ll love both the nature house and exhibits and the floating boardwalks that crosses a large section of the lake. We headed there late in the day on the weekend with our two young children – a little too late to enjoy the nature house but early enough to enjoy the warm late afternoon sun.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
A rather inquisitive Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) checks for handouts.

I ended up spending most of our time with Clara who was a little slower and not quite big enough to make the entire loop around the lake. Alden and Jocie soon left us behind as we doddled about looking at rather tame Canada geese and Mallard ducks.

A Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) dozing in the late afternoon sun.

Red-winged Blackbirds were singing and displaying and Marsh Wrens sang from the tops of cattails at the edge of the lake. We also got some pretty good looks at Anna’s Hummingbirds which were very active at this time of the day.

Floating Dock
Floating dock at Swan Lake in Victoria, British Columbia – great for exploring!

We didn’t get too far. However, it was fun to walk over the old floating boardwalk to the far side of the lake before turning around and retracing our steps. Directly in front of the nature centre is a new floating dock that we explored as well. From here we watched a few Double-crested Cormorants.

Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) at the water’s edge at Swan Lake.

All in all it was a relaxing hour or so at the sanctuary. This is an excellent place to take children of all ages and the nature programs and exhibits are excellent. Put it on your list of nature stops the next time you visit Victoria, British Columbia!

How to Get There: