Canadian Road Trip – 2012: British Columbia & Alberta

October 17, 2012  •  Leave a Comment


This post is part of a series about our trip to British Columbia & Alberta, Canada.

My key goals for photography and wildlife watching were to see wild grizzly bearsbald eagles, and killer whales. After that, just as much of anything else as I can.

Bella Coola Grizzly Bear - British Columbia & Alberta Road TripBella Coola Grizzly Bear - British Columbia & Alberta Road



Our itinerary was as follows;

Around those locations, we also had travelling time, and the usual sight-seeing & holiday stuff. I think in hindsight, it was too much to pack into one trip. Next time, we’ll either need longer, or visit either Bella Coola or Jasper. And I’d probably fly home from Calgary, rather than make the round-trip back to Vancouver. But it was a great holiday, and a great way to enjoy a little bit of all these locations.

Sadly, we didn’t have any success with the killer whales. In over 4 hours on the water, we saw no sign of orcas. The residents had moved on after the summer, and the transients just didn’t seem to be around. After this disappointment on our second day, I was concerned we wouldn’t get to see much wildlife in our brief time over there. After all, it is like looking for a needle in a haystack with many of this species.

But our luck turned around, and in our two and a half weeks we managed to see a huge number of key species, including shy creatures such as moose and beavers.

Western Bull Moose in the snow, Alberta, Canada.Canadian Western Bull MooseI took this photo in a chance encounter at Jasper National Park, Vancouver. Moose range over many miles, so I was very fortunate to see some in my short time there.

Wildlife Photography, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.



During the trip, we saw…

  • Elk – Numerous, just after the rut, in Jasper NP.
  • Moose – A close encounter in Jasper NP.
  • Coyote – Briefly, in Jasper NP.
  • Grizzly Bears – Numerous, in Bella Coola & Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Black Bears – The odd one or two, in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Bald eagles – Numerous in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, two in Vancouver, and numerous around BC.
  • Osprey – One, in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Kingfishers – Numerous (and loud!), in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Squirrels; Red, Douglas, Black, & Grey – All locations.
  • Garter snake – in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Vole – in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Harbour seal – Waters around Bella Coola, and Vancouver.
  • Steller’s Sea Lions – Waters around Vancouver.
  • Salmon; various species – Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Red-Tailed Buzzard – In the woods of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Porpoise – A brief sighting of fins off the coast of Vancouver.
  • Loons – All over BC
  • Chipmunks – Peyto Lake, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Alberta.
  • Porcupine – Lake Louise.
  • Turkey Vulture – Vancouver Coastline.
  • Ravens – Jasper NP, & Alberta.
  • Pileated Woodpecker – Stanley Park, Vancouver.
  • Beavers  Stanley Park.
  • Turtles – Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park, Vancouver.
  • Mule Deer – Grouse Mountain, Vancouver.
  • Great Blue Heron – Vancouver.
  • Steller’s Jay – Very pretty. All around Vancouver, Stanley Park, and Grouse Mountain.
  • Raccoons – Up close, in Stanley Park.

Close-up portrait of a large grizzly bear.Grizzly Bear Close-UpI was only able to get this close to a bear in captivity. This was taken at a grizzly bear sanctuary in British Columbia. I really like the eye-contact in this shot, and I think it will make a nice framed print.



Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting my photos to Flickr. The best of them will also make it to the galleries on this website.

I’ve written a set of posts about this trip for each of the places we visited in British Columbia & Alberta. They’re worth a read if you’re travelling to these places yourself, or you just like the wildlife pictures :-)

Medicine Lake in light snow cover. Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.Medicine Lake ReflectionsThis is the spectacular Medicine Lake, in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

We suffered a white-out on our first day in Jasper, but it was worth one cold wet day, as the sun came out the next day, lighting up the freshly fallen snow on the rocks and the pine trees.

Surely one of the finest views in the Canadian Rockies.

Landscape photography, Jasper National Park, Canada.



If you’re planning a trip yourself, feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

If you’ve been to any of these places, share your favourite memory.

I had a fantastic time in Canada, as I always do, and I can’t wait to get back there.

Post by George Wheelhouse, 2012.


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