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Abbotsford

- Mill Lake
- Sumas Mountain
- Willband Creek Park


Chilliwack
- Borden Creek Trail
- Cheam Lake Wetlands
- Chehalis Estuary
- Columbia Valley
- East Sector Park
- Great Blue Heron ssNature Reserve
- Harrison Lake
- Island 22 Regional Park
- Sardis Pond
- Sumas Central Road
- Tuyttens Road Wetland

Hope
- Hope Airport
- Thacker Regional Park


Boston Bar
- North Bend

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Site Guide - Sumas Mountain
 

Location: Sumas Mountain

Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/kf5dgNQVjeS2

Directions: The site begins at the end of Batt Road which is off of Upper Sumas Mountain Road

Habitat(s): Mature cedar and hemlock forest, recently logged sites providing forests in varied stages of growth and hawkwatching opportunities.

Access: The road through the site is gravel and, while a bit rough in places, is accessible by car. The trails are backcountry grade paths. Several logging roads branch off the main road and are best accessed by foot or truck.

Bird Species List: Click here to open an eBird list of the 69 species recorded to date.

Target Bird Species: Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hammond's Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Townsend's Warbler, MacGillvray's Warbler, Red Crossbill, Band-tailed Pigeon, Hermit Thrush

Rare Species Recorded: Common Poorwill, Prairie Falcon, Grey-crowned Rosy Finch, Rock Wren

Best Time(s): Spring through fall

Recent Reports: Visit the forum or eBird to see what's been reported recently.

Nearby birding sites: Sumas Prairie, Willband Creek Park, Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve



Sumas Mountain is located at the eastern end of Abbotsford and parts of it is designated regional park. Most of this site guide covers the eastern part of the mountain.

The first parking location is just inside the main gate at the end of Batt Road. Parking here and walking south up a deactivated logging road provides a nice walk and some hawkwatching opportunity. Between the lower parking lot and the upper parking lot located at the Western Viewpoint is about 5 km of road. Birding is good along here and the side roads offer lots to explore. From the Western Viewpoint parking lot the park's trails begin which offer access to Chadsey Lake or the Eastern Viewpoint which overlooks Chilliwack. The Western Viewpoint offers the best hawkwatching as well. A gate, which is always closed, is found about 200 meters past the Western Viewpoint parking lot.

Amenities include pit toilets at the Lower Viewpoint and Western Viewpoint parking lots. More information on the park and gate opening and closing times visit the FVRD website.

Birds

Spring brings a healthy assortment of migrants of warblers, flycatchers and vireos. Focusing on the younger stands of trees will provide the best birding. Try some of the side roads or the trail to the Lower Viewpoint. Hermit Thrush are annual nesters at the highest point on Sumas Mountain. Look for them around the Eastern Lookout while enjoying views of Chilliwack and the Cheam Mountain Range.

A good number of birds use the site for breeding. MacGillvray’s, Wilson’s, Orange-crowned and Townsend’s Warblers are the most common in their respective habitat types. Hammond’s and Pacific-slope Flycatchers can be counted on to be quite vocal during much of the summer. A hike down to Chadsey Lake will be a sure way to encounter these birds. Red-breasted Sapsucker are also common and both Ruffed and Sooty Grouse are possible.

Fall migration is just as good as spring migration at this site however the added bonus of raptor migration increases the interest. The Western Viewpoint, accessible by car, appears to be the best option. However, the lower viewing area shows promise especially if one does not want to drive the road up to the upper viewpoint. Hawkwatching needs not be overly strenuous. Bring a lawn chair and orient yourself to the north and let the birds come to you. Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawk are the most common and during peak times in early September dozens can pass in an hour. Bald Eagle, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Merlin and a surprise Prairie Falcon have also been documented.

Winter the area gets fairly quiet but the Red Crossbills, found all year long here continue to be reliable. Varied Thrush, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Dark-eyed Junco will be kicking around. Northern Pygmy-Owl, which likely breeds at the site, seems to be most detectable late winter when calling more regularly. Due to snow, the upper half of the mountain is often inaccessible.

 

~By Gord Gadsden - August 31, 2016

 

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